At Whitefriars we teach that the world than ‘us’; that outside of our gates there is an endless amount of good and incredible opportunity. We teach that along with all of the opportunities we are afforded as gentlemen – that there are communities, both locally and internationally, that need our help.
On 25 June, eleven Year 11 students landed in Dili ready to be immersed in the culture, history and the day-to-day lifestyle and struggle of the Timorese as part of our on-going program of commitment to remote and urban areas of this developing nation. Our students worked as volunteer English teachers in a number of primary and secondary education settings. They built swing sets and soccer/netball goals in several primary schools that had no playground equipment and helped solve the logistical challenges of having to borrow basic tools; source and purchase materials in a foreign language, all while having very limited building experience themselves.
Our boys transported 242 Days for Girls (DFG) Washable Feminine Hygiene Packs (lasting 3 years) that have been produced by various volunteer groups including our own Whitefriars group. Our boys know exactly the effort and love that goes into the production of these amazing products and will discretely observe the amazing level of empowerment that these products brings to women and young girls in developing countries.
Group 2, diary entry 1:
Already our boys have formed a lasting relationship with the men, women and children in this village and have worked to cement the College’s ongoing support of this district. Students have begun to question aspects of their own lives and marvel at the way in which the Timorese typically make the most of every moment. The Zumalai experience is one they will never forget and it was sad for our crew to leave the village on Saturday and begin the journey back to Dili.
Group 2, diary entry 2:
We are in the final stages of completing a swing set for the children of the primary school and for children of the local community. Our boys have been planning, sourcing local materials, digging holes, mixing concrete by hand, painting and getting involved with the construction of the swings that we transported from Melbourne.
Over the weekend we visited significant cultural sites including Santa Cruz Cemetery, the site of a massacre in 1991 by the pro-Indonesian Militia. We also visited Crista Rae, the statue of Pope
John Paul II, the Comarca Balide Prison and the local Tais market where the boys were able to gain an appreciation for both the local culture, and also reflect on the historical events that the Timorese people have experienced in the past.
Welcome home to our Timor-Leste Travellers. Look out for their stories in the October edition of the Whitefriar.
See the gallery here: 2018 Timor-Leste Photo Album