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Just Coffee's 2006 Delegation to Timor-LestePosted by colleen at about 3pm on Wednesday February 21, 2007
May 15-22, 2006
-Exploring Timor-Leste's capitol, Dili, including its lovely beaches and markets as well as a few of its restaurants serving Australian, Portuguese, Timorese and Indonesian style foods.
-Meeting with Permatil, an organization that works in rural areas of East Timor to promote the techniques of Permaculture by teaching local farmers how to work sustainably with natural ecosystems, domestic animals, integrated subsistence and commercial agricultures, as well as how to better manage their land and water resources.
-Toured Arte Moris, a free art school and home of Bibi Bulak, Timor-Leste's premier music and theatre arts group. Arte Moris supports an art gallery with many paintings and sculptures depicting the struggle of the Timorese people for independence from Indonesia as well as other vibrant elements of indigenous culture.
-Traveled to the mountain town of Maubisse where we stayed in a former colonial Portuguese fortified villa set on the top of a hill. Here we visited Maubisse's large market amidst the ruins of two eras of not yet restored colonial history.
-Met with Dr. Dan from Bairo Pite Clinic who is an ally of the Madison Ainaro Sister City Alliance (MASA). Bairo Pite provides free health care services to the local population, on average seeing 300 or more patients per day, with a strict policy that everyone must be seen. Originally, the clinic was set up to serve the immediate needs of a population affected by a humanitarian crisis but as the violence subsided, BPC has adapted and transformed from an emergency medical service to a more comprehensive community health service providing a variety of services, such as childhood immunizations, pre-natal care, dental work, emergency services and seeking diagnosis and treatment for the most serious health problems facing the country including malaria, tuberculosis, dengue fever, leprosy and child mortality.
-Meeting with the Timor-Leste Media and Development Center (TLMDC) to learn about how community radio made a difference in the struggle for independence from Indonesia as well as how it is functioning currently. Radio is quite important within Timor-Leste as it is the main source of news for Timorese people, 65% of whom cannot read or write and 85% of whom are subsistence farmers.
-Toured an exhibit of the Timor-Leste Independent Photographers Association (TILPA) featuring photos of life in Timor-Leste and its beautiful natural landscape.
-Stayed overnight, shared meals and had discussions with Timorese families taking refuge from Dili in the mountains. These overnight trips were arranged by members of Fundacaun Hari'i Au Metan, a local Timorese NGO, who were the same people taking refuge. Fundaciao Hari'i Au Metan has done a variety of projects in Timor-Leste such as work with street prostitutes, HIV/AIDS testing, creating a bamboo and rattan furniture making businesses, palm woven basket making and exportation and much, much more.
-Meeting with La'o Hamutuk, the Timor-Leste Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis, an NGO that reports on the principal international institutions present in Timor-Leste as they relate to the physical, economic, and social reconstruction and development of the country. Here we discussed current political events in East Timor, coffee, and the Timor Gap oil issues between East Timor and Australia.
-Watched the small celebration of East Timor's independence from Indonesia on May 20th.
-Encounters with David Boyce, Enterprise Development, with the National Cooperatives Business Association (NCBA), an organization funded and supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Mr. Boyce served as our link to Cooperativa Café Timor (CCT). With Mr. Boyce our delegation:
--traveled on a day trip to the nearby coffee growing communities of Gleno and Aileu where we visited one of CCT's wet mill factories and a base health clinic. The wet mill factory we visited was not operating while we were there as the coffee processing season was just beginning, with the facility scheduled to open the week after the delegation ended;
--visited the CCT drying fields and diversification projects for vanilla and beef cattle;
--met with NCBA's expert on wet and dry processing, Bency Issac, from India;
--toured CCT's dry mill, Nursi Timor, and offices.
COMMENTS FROM DELEGATES:
"It was hard for me to leave - getting as involved as we all did...I loved our time and experience together - will never forget." -Chelsea from San Francisco, California
For more information or to sign-up for a delegation, please contact Just Coffee's Delegation Coordinator Colleen Coy at: colleen (at) justcoffee (dot) coop. Thank you for your continued interest and support!