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A to Z : Timor Leste
text version 
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Last updated: 2 January 2005

URGENT FINANCIAL SITUATION FOR BAIRO PITE CLINIC


A

ACCOMMODATION
One of the first questions that volunteers want to know is where can they stay in Timor Leste and how much will cost? Our Volunteer Coordinator will provide an updated orientation document outlining accommodation options when your volunteer placement has been confirmed.

Some websites to check out accommodation  

http://www.discoverdili.com/

 
  Cost/night* From BPC Telephone Website
Back Packers 231
Villa Verde
$8   723 8121   
Central Hotel
The non-Floating Central hotel in the centre of Dili 
$30   332 3888   centralhoteltl@yahoo.com
Central Maritime Hotel
Avenida Dos Direitos Humanos 
P.B. 230 Dili, East Timor
Floating hotel in Dili Harbour
$84 - 96 2.5 km 331 1600
725 9696 
 http://www.southtravels.com/
Dili Guest House
50m south of the Dili stadium
$5 2 km     
DTC Holiday Apartments     725 1289   
Farol Hotel
Rua Governador Serpa Rosa
Next to the Indonesian Embassy
$50 single room 1 km 723 4218 farolhotel@yahoo.com  
Hotel Audian
Rua Quinze de Outubro
To the east of Dili
$33 to 50 3 km 332 3080 enquires@hotelaudian.com
hotelaudian@mail.timortelecom.tp

Hotel Dili 
Rua Dos Direitos Humanos
On the beachfront east of the centre of Dili 

$

3 km

331 3958

hoteldili@mail.timortelecom.tp
hoteldili@arafua.net.au

Hotel Dili 2000
No 2 Rua Martires Da Patria, Babora
Closest airconditioned hotel to BPC with glass fronted gym overlooking the main road.
$25 standard 0.5 km 724 4888

321 667

dili2000@singnet.com.sg
Hotel Dili 2001
Area Branca, Meti-Aut
$   331 1237 dili2001hotel@yahoo.com.au
Hotel Esplanada
Avenida de Portugal (Beach Road)
On the beach front west of the centre of Dili, with pool
$100 2 km 331 3088 www.hotelesplanada.com
admin@esplandahotel.com
Hotel Timor
Rua dos Martires da Patria
Upmarket hotel near the centre of Dili
$120 - $200 1.5 km  332 4502 hoteltimor@foriente.minihub.org
JC PAV Community Centre 
Near Taibessi Market
$14      cjpav@hotmail.com
Sakura Tower Hotel
    331 1136  
Sebastiao da Costa Hotel
    332 1465
724 1816
enquiries@hotelsebastiao.com
The Purple Cow 
White Sands Beach, 10 minutes by taxi, Disco on weekends!! 
$15 4 km  
Timor Sands Hotel
$30 2 km 332 4879
723 5390
 
Timor Lodge Ho tel
Estrada - Dili Liquila Road
$8 3 km 332 4227 
723 0827
 
Tropical Hotel
Av Presidenti Nicoloa Laboto
    332 5084  
Venture Hotel
$20   331 3276   

* Approximate prices in 2004 prices, in US dollars. Some include breakfast; some monthly rates offer considerable savings.

If you found somewhere else to stay not mentioned here let me know.

ALOLA FOUNDATION
Alola Foundation was established in 2001 to raise awareness locally and internationally about the problem of sexual and gender based violence as experienced by the women of East Timor. The Foundation works in direct partnership with indigenous East Timorese women's NGOs and groups promoting the interests of survivors of violence and their families. The name "Alola" derives from the case of a 15 year old East Timorese girl, Juliana dos Santos, who was brutally kidnapped in the violence of September 1999 by a militia leader who still holds her today in Indonesian West Timor. 

The Director of the Alola Foundation, Ms. Kirsty Sword-Gusmao, has been campaigning for the return of Ms. dos Santos, whose childhood nickname is "Alola". Today the Alola Foundation responds to a range of other needs of the women of East Timor. Our work in the areas of education and maternal and child health reflects the Alola Foundation's commitment to boosting the quality of life and living standards of the women of East Timor.

ARRIVING IN DILI
See also TRAVELLING TO DILI

Dili airport remains quite basic! Your walk from your aircraft, there is no covered walkway in case of rain. An umbrella would be a worthwhile investment in the wet season.

The first thing you do is pay the visa fee of $30; remember to bring US dollars. Then it is onto collect your luggage from the single carousel. Carry all fragile items in the plane with you but be aware that only small bags can be carried in the cabin on Air North flights. It is generally a slow process through the airport; allow at least 30 minutes. There is no access to a lavatory before passing through customs, which can make it really uncomfortable if you drank a few cokes or beers on the flight. Especially uncomfortable if you flew on a small Air North aircraft without a toilet.

Carry drinking water with you for your first drink in the country and pack the sunglasses! Dili can be a very hot and glary place. Avoid the taxi drivers and their agents as hopefully you have organised someone from the clinic to pick you up. If you do have to get a taxi, you will be more likely to reach you destination if you mention Dr Dan (see also TAXI below).

ARTE MORIS
Arte Moris is the first ever fine-art school and associated community of artists in the Democratic Republic of Timor Leste. Arte Moris was founded in February 2003 by Swiss artist Luca Gansser, inter-cultural art coordinator Gabriela Gansser and a group of talented East Timorese youths who became the school’s first students of art. The original students have now become a core group of approximately 15 senior students who live and work at Arte Moris. In conjunction with the founders, the seniors share responsibility for the day-to-day running of the school such as teaching junior students, administration and organization responsibilities. Arte Moris now provides daily tuition for over 100 junior students from age 12 upwards who study under the tutelage of Luca Gansser, visiting international artists and senior students.

Arte Moris is housed in the former premises of the National Museum and more recently the UN Hospital on the main road, Comoro. In March 2003, artists donated works to Bairo Pite Clinic for use in the various rooms. 

ATTITUDE
Remember it isn’t the West and things run differently. Don’t go in with the attitude of making the place a centre of efficiency overnight. 

Celeste is the BPC clinic manager. On arrival, please introduce yourself to her. It is customary to bring a small gift either for the staff or something useful for the clinic. For examples a box of chocolates or wall clock, towels or sheets.

Get to know the staff, never bypass Celeste; don’t just consult with the Western staff – they won’t be there forever. Work together on problems and projects – always aim to leave skills behind. Learn from clinic staff – they have been there a long time and have a lot of clinical knowledge to share.

AFAP
Australian Foundation for the Peoples of Asia and the Pacific works to assist the peoples of Asia, the Pacific and Africa by supporting projects that are environmentally and economically sustainable, gender balanced and supportive of the integrity and self-determination of local communities. AFAP is an innovative overseas aid organisation based out of Sydney and making a positive difference to the lives of people throughout Africa, Asia and the Pacific. AFAP is a non-profit, non-religious organisation that was established in Australia in 1968 and incorporated in the state of New South Wales in 1983.

ARMS
Australian Relief & Mercy Services Ltd ARMS is a Christian organisation acting as the mercy ministry arm of Youth With A Mission Australia and uses the international resources of YWAM to provide humanitarian relief and developmental assistance to those in need. ARMS has projects both within Australia and overseas. All the staff of ARMS are full time volunteers who give their services and expertise without charge. Their personal support comes through people who believe in the value of their ministry.

ARMS assisted in the provision of a new ablution block and on going medical aid for a Bairo Pite Clinic.

B

BAIRO PITE CLINIC & DR DAN MURPHY
Bairo Pite Clinic is located in Bairo Pite next to the now abandoned Portuguese helicopter base, it is now much quieter especially early in the morning. The building was used a medical clinic run by the military during the Indonesians days and is now where Doctor Dan Murphy has his practise.

Doctor Dan received his MD from the University of Iowa. He spent 6 years working with Ceasar Chavez at a clinic for farm workers, where he was involved with legislation against pesticide abuse. He has also worked a doctor in Mozambique, another former Portuguese colony, Laos and Nicaragua. Doctor Dan has worked in East Timor since September 1998, although the Indonesians forced him out in early 1999 during the post-independence ballot destruction of the country. He returned in September 1999 and had been steadfastly working since to provide health care through the Bairo Pite Clinic.

Bairo Pite Clinic currently employs 35 Timorese paramedical, nursing and support staff.

Primary health care is a top priority for the Bairo Pite Clinic; upwards of 500 patients are seen each day. Services provided by BPC include:

Dental care: Dental care is limited to extractions by experienced dental technicians but may soon expand to restorative work and training as part of an Australian overseas aid project.

Emergency Room: BPC has a small emergency care room with the ability to do minor wound care, minor surgery, place plaster casts, insert cannula for fluids and do ECGs. X-rays have to be referred to Dili Hospital. An East Timorese nurse is normally in charge of running the Emergency Room, but it is not staffed full-time. The nurse may be able to assist with some minor procedures. In general the knowledge of wound care does not appear to be good. Debridement, cleaning of tissue and suturing are skills that need to be imparted. Equipment can be sterilised, although this is not always done. If in doubt about instruments, sterilise them prior to using them. There is generally a good selection of suture material, suturing equipment and dressings available. BPC currently has about 5 years supply of Hibitane antiseptic solution!

As a word of caution to volunteers, Dr Dan may be happy for you to embark on certain surgical procedures that may be better handled by the surgical team at Dili Hospital. Don't operate outside of your comfort zone; patient care remains a priority.

Mobile Clinics: BPC provides mobile clinics to remote and often-neglected mountainous areas, and receives patients from all over the country. Dr Dan is working to develop a program of health promotion and prevention with links to mountain villages, with the BPC serving as the training site for village health workers. However, more funding is needed to make this program a reality. Dr Dan himself doesn't go on mobile clinic visits hence visiting medical volunteers can use the opportunity not only to see remote areas of Timor Leste but also provide a useful service. 

BPC operates a Landcruiser Troop carrier as an ambulance with a very capable driver. The current focus of attention is villages in the Liquica and Ermera districts. Nursing support is provided by these districts, although a clinic nurse may be taken along for some visits. Of interest, the ambulance is also used to transport people who have died in Dili back to their families around the island. 

Inpatient care: Ten in-patient beds are used primarily for treatment of diseases such as malaria, gastroenteritis, and mild pneumonia. First-world hospital resources such as oxygen, biochemistry, naso-gastric feeding and blood transfusions are not available which means some patients are best referred to Dili Hospital.

Ward rounds start at 8 am daily, including Sundays. Everyone it seems, including patients already seen join in on the round. Ward rounds are a great time to provide and receive education. Nurses check on patients at least once a day taking and recording observations and giving medication. If you have admitted a patient who requires more regular care, then you will have to reinforce the reasons why or consider referring the patient to Dili Hospital, although they may also be overlooked there. On occasions, positive malaria smears have been overlooked on febrile patients until the next morning. Intravenous drips also need to be regularly checked to ensure that patients are not over or under hydrated or the cannula has not tissued. If you check on patients always take the nurse on duty with you to prevent them from thinking that you are taking over care!

A nutritious diet is provided to all inpatients by BPC.  When a patient is admitted it is not unusual to see three or four family members also staying. 

Maternity and neonatal care: Four beds are devoted to maternity services at the clinic, which averages 60 deliveries per month. Bairo Pite Clinic participates in the national midwife training program. The clinic has about six midwives working; they generally operate independently calling on a doctor for emergencies. When this occurs the patient is often stabilised and transferred to the hospital as the clinic cannot perform operative deliveries and blood transfusions. Patients tend to stay only a day or so post-partum. 

Specialised neonatal care (oxygen, biochemistry and intravenous fluids) cannot be provided by BPC and such patients are referred to Dili Hospital.

Medical laboratory: The primary function of the laboratory is to diagnose malaria and tuberculosis through microscopy of thick blood smears and sputum smears respectively. They can also handle basic urine tests using Multistix. There is a coulter counter for blood counts but this is not currently working. 

Negotiations are underway for the clinic to have more comprehensive bedside tests, for example, to screen for HIV. Being able to diagnose malaria from a thick film can be lifesaving; learn from one of the local laboratory technicians how to do this. The more experience you have with malaria the less certain you will be of making the diagnosis! 

Biochemistry and full blood counts need to be referred to Dili hospital. It is currently easier to take the patient rather than the specimen. The UN Hospital provides HIV testing for BPC patients. Microbiological and pathology services are lacking. Dili Hospital has an arrangement whereby some pathology specimens can be studied in Australia.

Outpatients Care: The major work of BPC and Dr Dan are outpatient consultations. Dr Dan sees around 300 patients per day on average and has seen as many as 650 in a single day. He sees and treats all of the health problems of East Timor with everything from congenital heart defects to violent trauma and the ever-present tuberculosis. He has an extensive and up-to-date medical library in East Timor donated by Elsevier Medical Books in Australia and various volunteers.

Medical volunteers are expected to assist with consultations using a translator (generally someone who has expressed an interest in learning medicine) at first then maybe on their own. The consultation is a great opportunity to teach the translator clinical skills. 

Dr Dan will often call the volunteer into his office to see an interesting case, assist with the referral process to Dili Hospital, or even organise overseas treatment for more difficult cases. BPC treats HIV, cancer and provides a referral service for groups such as ROMAC, a Rotary-funded organisation which provides surgery for children who otherwise would not get treatment. 

It is unfortunate that neither Dili nor the UN hospital offer placements for overseas medical students. However, one a priority is learning the names and telephone numbers of the doctors who work in both establishments and utilise them wherever possible. The UN Hospital doesn't treat anyone other than UN personal (mostly) and speaking with the local surgeon's at Dili Hospital makes getting through their triage process so much easier.

Pharmacy: Next to the laboratory is the pharmacy which is air-conditioned. Medication is supplied from the Central Pharmacy by the Health Department at least in theory. Often orders are only half-filled or  medication requested not received. Other medication makes it way to BPC via visitors, although this had been a problem of late with Customs becoming very strict on what they allow into the country.

Dr Dan tries to provide every patient with some medication even if it is just paracetamol, aspirin or a few multivitamin tablets. His prescriptions are written on small pieces of paper with the patients´ name, the name of the medication and the dose. The dose is written as:  n times per day X number of pills X number of days.  If you spend just a day in the pharmacy, you can pick up what they do and how they do it easily. A little Tetum is required to explain to a patient the dose. (see Tetum Medical Words)

Training: BPC is involved in health care training for East Timorese health care workers. Doctor Dan has been working with ten Timorese medical students who began their studies in Indonesia. They are unable to return to their former schools in Indonesia to finish their education. Five students have been able to resume studying overseas, and Doctor Dan is assisting the others in their attempts to attend Western medical schools. Nursing students from Lahane, East Timor also rotate through Bairo Pite clinic as part of their training in practical skills.

Tuberculosis treatment and control: There are now more than 1,000 patients registered in the tuberculoses (TB) program, which includes directly observed treatment (DOTS), education, and follow-up care. Medication is supplied by Caritas Norway and the programme works in conjunction with the Health Ministry (Ministério Da Saúde Dili Hospital refers patients to the BPC TB programme.

Ten beds at the clinic are reserved for patients with TB too sick for outpatient treatment or for those coming from distant areas. Twenty additional beds for longer-term TB treatment are located at Kuluhun in a rehabilitation centre run by BPC and Sister Lourdes. Dr Dan visits twice a week. 

TB in its many guises can be seen amongst the sick of Timor Leste; not just pulmonary but gastrointestinal, genitourinary, spinal, miliary, cns and cutaneous disease. Multi-drug tuberculosis remains a therapeutic dilemma in Timor Leste. (Also see Tuberculosis)

Vaccinations: Childhood vaccinations, as part of a wider UN supported programme, are given at the Bairo Pite Clinic twice weekly. Pregnant women receive a booster for tetanus at their first visit.

In addition, the Bairo Pite Clinic operates a kitchen and laundry. The clinic has a water supply system and a power generator to supplement unreliable and expensive local supplies.

Bakhita Centre
St. Bakhita Centre at Eraulo offers the Timor Loro sa’e people, without prejudice, an opportunity for developing skills, experience and services to benefit individuals and their communities. The Bakhita Centre is seen as a place where people can come to share experiences and skills with others. This may involve and include people coming from other countries to share their skills, information and expertise with local and regional people from Timor Loro sa’e. 

The Bakhita Centre Project Bishop Belo's Office at the Diocese of Dili has provided this 4 hectare site to develop a Youth Centre and a permanent home for Leeuwin Care. The land overlooks Dili and the ocean and is well located for it's purpose with good access, a level site and proximity to residential areas. The Centre will be established as a showcase for appropriate and sustainable technologies and will include model tourism facilities for training East Timorese people in tourism related activities. The first stage of the project has been completed. An architect has visited East Timor to survey the site, meet the parties involved and assess local materials and skills. By the end of October, a site Master Plan, indicative budgets and a timeline of priorities will be completed. 

This is a project done in conjunction with Notre Dame University and the Edmund Rice Centre in Perth, WA.

BEER & WINE
Try Sagres, the Portuguese beer, Bintang from Indonesia and Tiger from Singapore. You may want to try the local Buffalo beer, with its mysterious sweetish after-taste. Avoid XXXX and VB but that is just a matter of personal taste. Expect to pay from $1.50 to $8 depending upon where you want to drink. The cheapest was the Dengue bar at the UN barracks (you need to surrender your driver's licence to get in) or one of the other bars around town. 

The local palm wine, tua, can be bought at road side stalls in various qualities from absolutely abysmal to just plain disgusting. I have been told there is a quality product but have yet to try it. For more conventional wines from Portugal or Australia try one of the western-style supermarkets.

BLOOD
Before leaving Dili consider donating a unit of blood to local blood bank. This can be done at Dili hospital Laboratory. They will test for HIV, hepatitis B, C and syphilis beforehand. It will take about an hour out of your time. It is unlikely that the Red Cross in Australia will want your blood for a few months after returning home because of potential exposure to malaria and dengue.

BRIEFING
Please come to Darwin for several days to meet Dr Vicki Beaumont and the team here, to see photographs and generally to prepare yourself for Dili. Dr Vicki only works until 1 pm each day and can spend time with you when you arrive.

Accommodation in Darwin: The Phoenix Motel is less than 5 minutes walk from Dr Vicki's Surgery and costs around AUD $70 per night. There are plenty of other places in the city from backpackers to luxury hotels. The city centre is 10 minutes from the Motel away by taxi, 20 minutes by bus or 30 minutes by push bike.

An alternative is with Luc at Frogs Hollow Backpackers in central Darwin, but be sure to let him know that you are going to travel on to Dili and volunteer at Bairo Pite Clinic to get a special rate. 

Contact details are Frogs Hollow Backpackers Darwin 27 Lindsay Street Darwin NT 0801 
FREE CALL (Booking enquiries only): 1800 06 86 86 (within Australia)
Phone: (08) 8941 2600 
Fax: (08) 8941 0758 
Email: book@frogs-hollow.com.au 
Web: www.frogs-hollow.com.au

BICYCLES
Air North will transport a bicycle to Dili for you as long as it is in a box to protect everyone else's luggage from you greasy chain. There maybe a fee involved so check with them first as strict baggage limits apply. The condition of roads in Dili make a mountain bike more appropriate that a racing bike. When heading out of Dili, anywhere but to the West, the gearing of your average mountain bike will come in very handy!

Riding a pushbike, as with driving in Dili, is hazardous, as drivers do not pay attention to road rules or common courtesies.

Remember you are the smallest thing on the road and some of the military trucks are pretty big. Make sure that you wear a helmet when riding a bike.

A tool kit, puncture kit and spare tubes will be useful. There are a couple of bike shops around Dili. The closest to the clinic is near the entrance to the Portuguese helicopter base. An alternative would be to buy a bike in Dili and maybe even generously leave it with someone when you leave. There are a couple of bike shops open at various times throughout the day close to BPC.

BOOKS
See also LINKS

Political & Historical Flavour

  • A Dirty Little War: an eyewitness account of East Timor's descent into hell, 1997-2000. John Martinkus. Random House Australia, Sydney, 2001. ISBN: 174051016.

  • A Woman of Independence. Kirsty Sword Gusmão. Macmillan Australia. November 2003.

  • Bitter Dawn. East Timor: A People's Story. Irena Cristalis. Zed Books; (2002) ISBN: 1842771442

  • Bitter Flowers, Sweet Flowers Richard Tanter, Mark Selden, Stephen R. Shalom. Rowman & Littlefield Publishing, 2001. ISBN: 0742509680.

  • Buibere: Voice of East Timorese Women compiled by Rebecca Winters. East Timor International Support Centre, Australia. 1999

  • Diplomatic Deceits: Government, Media and East Timor Tiffen R. ISBN 086840571X, UNSW PRESS, March 2001

  • East Timor Testimony. Photographs by Elaine Briere with essays by Noam Chomsky, Charles Scheiner and others. Between the Lines (Canada) 2004

  • East Timor: A Rough Passage to Independence. James Dunn. Longueville Press (Australia). 2003.ames Dunn

  • East Timor : Nationalism & Colonialis. Jill Joliffe. University of Queensland Press, 1978. ISBN: 0702214809

  • East Timor's Unfinished Struggle : Inside the Timorese Resistance. Jardine Matthew, Allan Nairn, Constancio Pinto. South End Press, 1996. ISBN: 0896085414.

  • East Timor and the UN : The Case for Intervention. Geoffrey C. Gunn. Red Sea Press, 1997. ISBN: 1569020450

  • East Timor : Genocide in Paradise (Real Story Series). Matthew Jardine. 2nd edition. Odonian Press, 1999. ISBN: 1878825224.

  • East Timor : The Price of Freedom. John G. Taylor. Zed Books, 2000. ISBN: 1856498417.Fighting 

  • East Timor: Too Little Too Late Lansell Taudevin Duffy & Snellgrove, Australia, 1999

  • From the Place of the Dead : The Epic Struggles of Bishop Belo of East Timor. Arnold S Kohen. Griffin Trade Paperback, 2001. ISBN: 031226934X.

  • Funu: The Unfinished Saga of East Timor Jose Ramos-Horta.Red Sea Press 1987

  • Generations of Resistance: East Timor Photographs by Steve Cox; introduction by Peter Carey. Cassell, UK, 1995

  • Guns and Ballot Boxes : East Timor's Vote for Independence (Monash Papers on South east Asia, No. 54) by Damien Kingsbury (Editor), Monash Asia Institute Monash Asia Institute. ISBN: 0732611881

  • Inside Out East Timor Ross Bird www.rossbirdphotography.com.au Herman Press, Australia. July 1999.

  • Peacekeeping in East Timor: The Path to Independence. Michael G. Smith, Moreen Dee, Louisa May Alcott. Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2002. ISBN: 1588261425

  • Remembering forgetting Ciaron O’Reilly Otford Press

  • Self-Determination in East Timor: The United Nations, the Ballot, and International Intervention Ian Martin Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2001

  • Spirit of East Timor: The Life of Martinho da Costa Lopes Rowena Lennox Pluto Press/Zed. 2001

  •     Stirrings of Nationalism in East Timor - Fretilin 1974-1978 Dr Helen Hill Otford Press 

  • The East Timor Question : The Struggle for Independence from Indonesia Stephen McCloskey, Paul Hainsworth, John Pilger. I B Tauris & Co Ltd, 2000. ISBN: 1860644082.

  • The Heaviest Blow -The Catholic Church and the East Timor Issue. Patrick A. Smythe Lit Verlag 2004

  • The Road to Freedom: A Collection of Speeches, Pastoral Letters and Articles from 1997-2001 Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, SDB  Caritas Australia and the Centre for Peace and Development Studies - East Timor. 2001

  • To Resist is to Win: The Autobiography of Xanana Gusmão, with selected letters and speeches. Aurora Books, Australia, 2000.

Bibliography of East Timor by Robert Lawless. Material on East Timor is found in Portuguese, Dutch, French, Indonesia, Tetum, and English. Kevin Sherlock's 1980 A Bibliography of Timor is the most complete bibliography in several languages. The bulk of the historical writing is in Portuguese. Much of the contemporary writing is in English. This bibliography is limited to materials in English. Many of these materials come from Australia; until recently East Timor was ignored by scholars and the popular media in North America. One of the very few balanced accounts of the Indonesian invasion in the academic journals of the U.S.A. was my 1976 article on "The Indonesia Takeover of East Timor," which made the (fortunately!) inaccurate prediction, "It seems doubtful that the world will ever again have an opportunity to closely examine the struggles and sufferings of the Timorese."

For language books see TETUM page.

ETAN East Timor Book reviews

If you have read another book on Timor please let me know 

BUSES
See also TAXIS

In Dili, bright, colourful minibuses called Mikrolets provide a useful alternative to walking if you don't mind being squeezed in with 20 other people. They are cheap (50 cents) and go to a variety of places but seem restricted to the main roads. Getting around on a bus really requires you to have good knowledge of Tetum and your destination to make sure you are travelling in the right direction. Check with someone at the clinic what the current fare is.

Buses are the usual form of public transport out of Dili to other towns in Timor Leste. It may also be possible to negotiate a taxi to drive out of Dili.

C

CARITAS
Caritas Dili is an organization established in 1976 with the name of DELSOS (Delagatus Sosial) and under the Dili Diocesian Social Commission. It was originally an emergency body established to respond to the needs of the victims of civil war, of the Indonesian invasion, famine and continuing political conflict

CASH & CURRENCY
Go to http://www.timoraid.org/timortoday/ for up to date exchange rates.

The US dollar is the official currency of Timor Leste. The cheapest place in Darwin to buy USD is the Darwin mall branch of the Westpac bank. Make sure that you buy good quality notes as well used notes may not be accepted in Timor Leste.

In November 2003, coins where placed into circulation alongside American dollar notes which apparently have been suffering in the tropical climate! The coins minted in Portugal are in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 centavos. The Timorese centavos being equal to an American cent. These are used alongside US coins. 

Credit cards are used in Dili. An ATM machine is situated at the ANZ bank in the middle of town near the Government buildings at Av. Presidente Nicolau Lobato and at the Leader Store, Comoro. Banking Hours are Monday to Friday form 9:30 to 3:30pm. (332 4822 www.anz.com/eastimor) ANZ eftpos facilities located at other major supermarkets, the Lita Store, many of the Hotels, the Australian Embassy and some other businesses in Dili. If you have a non-ANZ bank card eg. Commonwealth Bank card you can access your savings account only and you can not check the balance prior to withdrawing money. 

Travellers cheques may be an alternative, but first consider the charges for buying and exchanging them; they soon look like an expensive option. For safety's sake, only carry small amounts of cash on your person when out and about.

Western Union is located in Dili in Estrada Balide, Colmara (332 1586 or 332 1584) and Bacau (724 0897).

CHANGING MONEY
Change your money with the street vendors who hang around the shops in the centre of Dili. 

If possible, don't change money in the banks in Dili as the street vendors have better rates and provide a much faster and more convenient service. The street vendors also sell phone card (make sure they are not used) and cheap, pirated DVD and CDs of dubious quality.

CHURCH SERVICES
Looking to do something on a Sunday after or before ward rounds? There are many services all over East Timor. It is wonderful to hear all the singing. Three churches are closely situated to Bairo Pit Clinic. These are the Hosanna Protestant Church, Assembly of God (not affiliated with Australian AOG) and the Catholic cathedral that is very well attended. There are both Tetum and English services. Find out from locals what times the various services are held. The English services are well attended by African expatriates, which makes for an overwhelming experience.

Sunday Service times 
Catholic church 7 am
Assembly of God 9 am
Hosannah English service 10 am

Another church ceremony that you may find interesting is conducted outside of Dili, in a place called Tibar (people at the clinic will know where this is). There are some Kenyan PKFs based there. Every Sunday they join some of the locals in the church choir. Apparently, they sing in both Tetum and Kenyan.

CIVPOL
Civilian Police are currently made from police forces around the world. They may be either very helpful or not! More East Timorese are being recruited and trained for police duties and are certainly much more visible these days. The local officers can often be seen directing traffic across busy intersections. 

I did notice a couple of motorcycle cops on my last visit. There has been a crackdown on motorcyclists not wearing suitable crash helmets. 

CLIVE PICKERING'S HANDY HINTS (2003)
Please note I haven't attempted to update this list so some of these people Clive mentions may not be in the country any longer.

Here is a list of people etc that I find helps out heaps here in Dili

NEED HELP? Ok I have attached a little map to help out with things (click to open)... On the map if you look at the top is the Korean Embassy, to the right is the Dili Club ... Now if you have ANY problems the first point of call is to drop in and see a mate called 'Ditch' ... Top guy and the rest of the folks there will look after you. 

Second ... Be sure to catch up with Peta, she is a terrific person and will also go out of her way to help you if there is anything you need and she can also be a reality check for when you need one. Plus she is the best (only) dentist in Timor Ph +670 7233359 email petaleigh@hotmail.com 

ACTIVITIES & SANITY CHECKS 
Another person you must catch up with is Peter Berney from East Timor Trading ph +670 723 0944 hangs out at the Dili Club on Tuesday nights (strongly suggest you go for the trivia night it will make it a lot easier as it really is a who's who affair) plus he also can introduce you to the Dili Hash Hound Harriers on Sunday at 4pm sharp. 

Yet another two people to add to your lifeline on sanity here plus they are great people for a laugh ("Dili Hashers - On! On! - you will understand when you go for a walk/run) is Trevor and Lisa Parris Ph +670 7236476 email: tparris@opc.vic.gov.au 

LOST IN TOWN?
Sean is down at Thrifty (just in case you get lost in town) is also a great contact and can save you a lot of hassles Ph +670 7231900 email timor@rentacar.com.au 

Anyhow once you get here so long as you touch base with the Dili Club, and the Dili Hash Hound Harriers you will literally have met half of Dili's expatriates and the people you need to know.

NETWORKING? 
Also be sure to drop in and see Sharon at the Alola Foundation or Dr Carla +670 7234736 email carladossantos151@yahoo.com 

For small projects that you may encounter where you need under US$1500 to fix something. Touch base with Sophia Cason (Third Secretary) AUSTRALIAN EMBASSY +670 7231655 email sophia.cason@dfat.gov.au 

Another two people that just can help out with stuff is Patricia Delaney (Assoc. Director) Ph +670 7230562 pdelaney@tl.peacecorps.gov and Bill Farmer (Medical Officer) Ph +670 7230561 Bfarmer@tl.peacecorps.gov

And for the ROTARY connection here in Dili touch base with David Boyce Ph +670 7232995 email boycedjs@bigpond.com

SAFETY
If at any time you have safety issues or anything else you can call Terence Giddings (First Secretary and Consul) AUST EMBASSY +670 390 322111 email terence.giddings@dfat.gov.au he is my HOTLINE ie I carry his card with my passport for the CYAF ....cover your ass factor... Plus he is the main dude as they say.

GETTING STARTED
Now when you arrive the best thing is to go to the accommodation that I have marked which is where I am living and catch up with Betty and Alita. They will assist you to get out and about . Ok so for the accommodation with Dr Dan. 

It costs US$75 a month here for accommodation add onto that some money for food. I usually give Betty about US$15 to $20 a week generally as she needs it which she like rather than paying for meals we share. As for Dan, he is never around so you will not notice a thing unless your down at the clinic where he is found. 

GETTING AROUND TIMOR 
Strongly suggest if you are interest in getting around Timor check with Alita or Betty and see if they are available and then catch one of the buses .. Works out to be about US$10 for everyone to get around where as a car will set you back a lot more. 

FINAL NOTES
On a final note ... the last time I was here I went home wishing never to eat a damm steak ... this time I will be glad to see the last of any form of rice!!!!! give me a break guys ... 3 times a day for 5 months ... you could have warned me!!!!!

CLOTHES
East Timor is a tropical country with a climate not unlike the Top End (keep an eye on the forecast for Darwin). The seasons can be very pleasant; wet season very wet, hot and humid. Having said that it can get quite chilly in the mountains. You may need a range of clothes if you intend to stay for a while and do some travelling. 

The style of dress to be worn at BPC can be best described as neat casual. Jeans, pants or long shorts or skirts are all OK. You can leave the tie at home. Remember, as a volunteer there is an expectation of modest dress, that is, no exposed belly button rings, short skirts or other provocative dress for guys and girls. Remember, you represent your country and profession.

Socially people can be quite snappy dressers. You might get invited to a wedding so its always good to have something ‘just in case’. At the beach, bikinis will attract a lot of attention. Shorts and T-shirts are probably better. Sarongs are only worn by the poorer people of Dili or those from the village mountains. I kept mine for around the house!

COFFEE
From this website find links and news as well as source of Timor coffee. 

Apparently the best coffee East Timor has to offer is Cafe Timor Premium Grade, available form the Airport for USD$6 for 500 grams. Now I'm not going to get into an argument about how much of that $6 goes towards the growers. It does taste very nice. You can buy other coffee in plain plastic bags for a USD $1 which many East Timorese drink. Mixed with lots of sugar and milk. I like mine rich and black - an espresso with a golden crema.

If you are really a coffee freak have a look at The Coffee Review. They describe the Uncommon Grounds brand as 

"The quintessentially smooth, deep, rich Pacific coffee. Grown by peasant small holders and processed by the wet method at centrally located mills. Purchase of coffees like this one assist in rebuilding East Timor, devastated by its recent war of independence from Indonesia. Certified organically grown."

Find out the East Timorese Ministry of Agriculture has on their website about East Timor Coffee and the International Coffee Organisation

COMMISSION FOR RECEPTION, TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION
Welcome to the website of the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor. Our objective is to provide information about the Commission and its work to interested observers and stakeholders, including the East Timorese community in and outside East Timor, governments, donors, media, academics, and the human rights community internationally. Last modified: January 12, 2003.

COMMUNITY AID ABROAD
Since the Indonesian annexation of East Timor in 1975, Oxfam Community Aid Abroad has been active in its support for East Timorese self-determination and working for justice. This support has been through international advocacy and support to partner organisations based in East Timor. Last Updated March 2003

COMPUTERS & INTERNET
Bairo Pit Clinic has an up-to-date Microsoft computer running Windows XP and a CD burner with most applications and a scanner and printer. It was donated by Mike Hartnell. It even has a couple of CD-ROM based education programmes. There are a couple of shops in Dili were you can buy copies of Photoshop etc for $5; not that I would ever condone software piracy.

The clinic also has a digital camera to assist with a telemedicine project.

Power will fail at the worst possible moment so whilst working on the computer save your work regularly. 

You will need to negotiate with Celeste for after-hours access to the computer.

Alternatives are few and far between but there are rumoured to be a couple of Internet Cafes, via certain NGO's and Telstra (although the latter is an expensive option). A laptop computer would be another alternative. You will need to provide your own disks if you wish to save any computer files.

BeerNet is one of the new internet cafes, located at the Clock Tower Roundabout (Av. Almirante Americo Thomas) about 20 minutes from the clinic. Advertised rates are 5 cents a minute. If you buy a beer you get 15 minutes free!

The use of a web-based email account like Yahoo or Hotmail has become expensive as a landline link costs 14 cents a minute. The clinic's telephone bill is at least $200 a month. Therefore it is much cheaper to have a POP3 account such as Telstra's Bigpond or Optusnet downloading email to Outlook Express or Eudora rather than surfing you email provider. 

Bill Gates certainly has a lot to answer for when he put Solitaire in his Windows package; it remains the most used programme in the clinic as well as many government offices I have been told.

D

DEBRIEFING
Carry a pen and spiral notebook with you everywhere you go! 

We suggest that you keep a journal of stories told to you, your experiences and feelings whilst in Timor Leste. This will help you to talk through issues and share your story when you return to Australia. Reverse culture shock can be very real, particularly if you have been away a long time and well immersed in Timorese culture. It seems surreal that within 2 hours you are back in Australia with all its amenities and privileges. You may never be the same again as Dili may well change your perspective on life.

DEPARTURE TAX
There is a USD $10 departure tax to be paid at the airport. Check on arrival to see if the amount of departure tax has risen.

DISCOVER DILI

This regularly updated brochure and website provides a tourists introduction and community information for Timor Leste. From the website

"Timor Leste has truly begun its journey towards the future, out of the ashes of its past, and one of the most resonant statements that we hear over and over again from visitors is how lucky they feel to have come and seen for themselves just how amazing it is.  The simple fact is that you cannot find what is special in Timor Leste anywhere else in the world anymore. Everywhere has been “done”, traveled, marked and in many ways spoiled. The beauty of Timor Leste now is its potential, the real chance that it has for an amazing future, without the bias of negativity found so much elsewhere.  The combination of its history, spectacular scenery - both above and below water, a culture that is remarkably individual and a people that have seen so many changes in such a short time alone makes Timor-Leste a place that will appeal to everyone in many different ways. Isn’t it time you came and saw for yourself?!"  Sean Ferguson-Borrel, Sept. 2004. 

DONATIONS
If you intend to bring donations with you, check what the clinic needs first. Don’t take over rubbish, for example. obscure books, non-compatible or broken equipment etc. You will need a several completed authorisations to import medication and other supplies for the clinic.

Receiving donated medication and other goods is getting more complicated.

There is currently a duty of 10% of the value of all imported goods.

BPC is required to renew the “Registration for Tax Exemption on Import Duty” every six months. The Tax Account Number for Bairo Pite Clinic – 5000131

Only medication listed by the Ministry of Health as an essential medicine may be imported.

A list of all medication and supplies is required before the goods enter the country. This is known as a Bill of Lading and includes either an estimated cost or actual invoiced cost. A proforma can be downloaded from the website.

The completed Bill of Lading accompanied by a letter explaining what the drugs will be used for and other relevant information must be submitted to the Minister of Health.

Once approved and signed by the Minister of Health it must be also authorised by the Minister of Finance.

The final step is approval by the Commissionaire for East Timor Revenue Service

Copies of the completed paperwork must accompany the goods.

Read these documents before bring any medication into Timor Leste. BPC has enough boxes of medication already at the airport and wharf. 

Guidelines for Drug Donations for Timor Leste (pdf document 71 kB)

Essential Medicine Lists for Timor Leste  (pdf document 224 kB)

Customs Declaration Forms (pdf document 62 kB)

As you can see it is a very involved process bring medication into the country so you need to ensure that the medication will be useful. If you are uncertain contact Dr Dan prior to bring anything in. 

Remember you should declare any goods imported into East Timor. In the past people have been able to bring in many useful things for the clinic without doing so but I would never suggest something doing something that might get you into trouble.

DRIVING IN DILI
Although a local driving licence is required, there are few checks. Always carry your local licence or a valid international licence with you. It is essential that you have some comprehensive travel insurance before entering any motorised vehicle in Timor Leste especially if you plan on driving.

Driving in Dili requires a certain sense of adventure and a good eye for the one-way street signs. Roads can be very busy. For Australians it is somewhat refreshing that East Leste drive on the same side of the road as we do! The main road rule is biggest and loudest goes first. Practise your skills with the car horn before leaving Australia! When driving Dili around you will need to be careful of other vehicles (especially the bigger ones), motor bikes, children, pedestrians, pigs, dogs, chickens and outside of Dili the occasional horse, goat or buffalo.

Off the main roads it seems that there is a sense that people so not really appreciate what a speeding car can do to a human body. If you should run over an animal whilst driving and stop, be prepared to negotiate for the price of the animal. For example a pig may cost you up to $50. You'll be surprised how quickly the owner will find out his prized animal has been run over. Also take to heart that a goat or pig can also do a remarkable amount of damage to a modern car!

Although very much scarcer the other major hazards on Dili roads are speeding four-wheel drives like Landrovers, Discoveries and Landcruisers with UN emblazoned on the side. Also watch out for white Hummers flying Portuguese flags with big machine guns mounted on the roof that may not necessarily stick to the left hand side of the road.

It was suggested to me that if you should be involved in a traffic accident and can still drive the vehicle then you should drive immediately to the nearest CIVPOL station and report the accident rather than stay at the scene and be possibly subjected to a mob of angry Timorese.

There are at least three car hire businesses in Dili including Thrifty Rental, whose main office is based in Darwin. If you are staying with Thrifty you may be able to organise a special rate.

Thrifty Car Rental 
PO Box 142
Dili EAST TIMOR
Phone +670 7231900 Fax +670 390 321078
Email timor@rentacar.com.au

Petrol (benzene) or diesel (solar) can be purchased from either a petrol station (like at home) or more cheaply at road-side stalls. Prices are advertised on nearby signs. Fuel from road-side stalls can be dirty and it may be best to pay a bit more for cleaner alternatives from one of a couple of fuel stations such as Phoenix Fuel. Avoid any refilling station with attendants who have lit cigarettes in their mouths!

E

EAST TIMOR ACTION NETWORK
ETAN is a very comprehensive website and support group for all things political in Timor Leste. ETAM supports self determination and justice and supports La'o Hamutuk, the Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring & Analysis. It is run by John M. Miller

You should have a look at this site before visiting Timor.

EATING IN
If staying at Parunas, meals are provided with your board. Breakfast generally comprises of a bread roll, fried egg and coffee. Supplemental vegemite or jam from one pf the western supermarkets in Dili might help. Lunch and Dinner tend to be similar, that is, rice with vegetables or salad and chicken, beef or canned sardines. Vegetarians can be catered for if you let the house-keeper know ahead of time. The meals do tend to be a bit repetitive after a few weeks and you may appreciate the variety available at local restaurants.

If staying at Thrifty you have the use of kitchen facilities to prepare you own food. 

EATING OUT
There are many restaurants and cafes in and around Dili where you can spend from less than AUD $10 for a simple meal to AUD $100 for a feast.

The cheapest eating out places are the local Pandang restaurants where you choose to supplement a bowl of rice with a variety of meat and vegetable dishes. Unlike in Indonesia, the local sambal has a large amount of salt in it which takes a bit of getting used to. The meals generally cost USD$1 for lunch which can be often enough to keep you going to breakfast the next day. 

The more expensive cafes are frequented by UN workers and other expatriates. Expect to pay around US$5 for a meal. They may be a good place to meet people and make useful and potentially invaluable contacts that may help lubricate various bureaucracies.

 "To be honest I never got time to get there so I can't comment on the cost or quality although I did hear that the cakes were very nice at Cafe Blue" 

The hotels offer even more expensive food that makes you think, should you really be eating the equivalent to a weeks board in one night? Expect to pay up to US$15 for a meal.

ELECTRICITY
The electricity in Dili runs on 220/240 volts like Australia. Supply seems to have been improved somewhat since 2001. I still recall that if the power is still at 6:30 pm it is likely to be on all night. If it does go off at around 6 pm if will usually come back on around 9 pm. If you go to bed while the power is off remember to turn off the light switch so you don't get awoken when it comes back on.

Dinner is still served regardless of the power situation as a wood stove is used. Candles, which can be purchased from local shops, come in very handy. A small torch and spare batteries for all your accessories (camera, palmpilots, etc) are essential items.

Local electricity sockets are a mixture of American (with a round earth prong and two vertical prongs), Indonesian (two vertical prongs), Japanese (two round prongs) or Australian (two oblique prongs with or without a vertical earth prong). A universal adaptor would be a good investment.

Power now has to be paid for; and it is not cheap at 30 c per kilowatt. At Parunas, they cannot afford to run the refrigerator. BPC has a staggering outstanding power bill of over $10,000. Dr Dan is hoping to negotiate a better deal. 

ENTERTAINMENT & RELAXATION
See also TOURIST STUFF

To be honest I haven't kept up with the nightlife in Dili. The AMOS, one of the floating hotels which used to have a disco on Friday nights has gone. Discover Dili 2004 lists several nightclubs. Check out AAJs for pool and karaoke; Ata' Uro View for pizza and Tuesday quiz night; Castaway Bar; Ramelau Discothèque with its fitness centre, spa and massage or Sagres Beach for beachfront dinner and live music Friday and Saturday nights.

For sports fans, some of the hotels and bars have big screen television and cable or satellite links to the outside world if you need to watch Australia beat the world in cricket, rugby, tennis or whatever. Soccer is the form of local football. Otherwise there is a fast paced local game of soccer played at the main stadium or a number of pitches around town.

Swimming along the nearby coast is safe, but it is not recommended on beaches close to Dili because of untreated sewage draining into the bay. The beaches improve out east towards Christa Rae (the big statue of Jesus) and beyond with some spots with decent snorkelling over coral bombies. 

A lot of people go running or walking along these beaches, but it would be advisable to go in company.

When walking around Dili be careful of holes that open into drains below the footpaths. It is not a big drop but it would be a very unpleasant experience. The alternative is to walk on the road and then you just have to watch out for the traffic!

There are some local businesses that organise scuba dive trips to local reefs. Check with Coral Divers or Cullen Bay Dive in Darwin before leaving for contact details.

There are some well-frequented tennis courts along one of the main roads close to the centre of Dili.

Get out and about the countryside and mountains as much as you can. There is some pretty good walking outside of Dili.

There is no television or video at Parunas. You will have to remember how to entertain yourself. A couple of novels can be useful! There is a TV and video at the Clinic, which is occasionally used for a film night as well as continuing education.

Meet and interact with Timorese. They are very friendly, especially the children. Teach English as you learn Tetum.

F

FOOD
See also EATING in and out

Meals are influenced by a mixture of Portuguese, Chinese and Indonesian  influences. Remember to eat at least some of what has been offered and to say Kapas Los - "that was delicious!"

Fruit
apple
avocado
banana
cherry
coconut
custard apple
durian
fig
grapes
grapefruit
guava
jackfruit
lemon
mango
orange
pawpaw/papaya
pineapple
tomato
Aifuan
masan
abakati
hudi
serajus
nu
aiata
durian
figus
uvas
jambua
giobas
kulu jaka
derok
has
sabraka
aidila
ananas
tomati
Fruit without an English name
Salak  Zalacca tree; snake-like skin; bittersweet tasting 
Jambulan  Purple olive sized, sweet-sour tasting
Uha  Pear shaped, sour and succulent
Saramale  Small, pumpkin-shaped
Aidak  Lychee-like succulent

 

Meat 
beef 
chicken 
duck 
goat/mutton 
heart 
liver 
pork 
sausage
steak 
Nan
nan karau
nan manu
manu rade
nan bibi
fuan
aten
nan fahi
xurisu
bifi
The many forms of rice
bakmi 
etu 
eti fila 
fos 
hare 
sasoro 
rice noodles
cooked rice
fried rice and egg
raw rice (with husk)
growing rice
rice porridge 
Vegetables  Modo tahan Seafood hahan hosi tasi
beans 
bok choy 
breadfruit 
cassava/manioc 
capsicum 
carrot 
celery 
corn/maize 
egg plant 
garlic 
lettuce 
mustard greens 
onion 
peanut 
potato 
sago 
sweet potato 
taro 
water spinach 
yam 
fore
modo mutin
kulu tunu
aifarina 
aimanas bot
senoura
salsa
batar
brinzela
lis asu
alfasi
modo metan
lis bot
forai
fehuk
akar
fehuk midar
talas
kanko
kumbli
crabs 
fish 
lobster 
octopus 
shrimp 
squid 

 

 

When to eat
breakfast

lunch
dinner

kaduik
ikan
lagosta
kurita
boek
suntu

 

 


matebixu; han dader
almosu; han meudia
jantar; janta

Cooking  Tein
bafar 
dan 
fai 
lalar 
matak 
sona 
tamu 
tunu 
steamed
boiled
pulped
grilled or fried
raw
fried
smoked
baked

 

 

 

Ingredients Drinks
biscuit 
bread 
butter 
cheese 
chilli 
chocolate 
coconut milk 
oil 
eggs 
flour 
fruit 
ham 
honey 
jam 
margarine 
milk 
noodles 
pepper 
salt 
soy sauce 
sugar
biskoit
paun
manteiga
keiju
aimanas
xokolate
ne ben
mina
manatolun
trigu
aifuan
fiambre
baniben
marmelada
margarina
susuben
mi
pimentra
masin
sutati
masin midar
coffee 
- black 
- milk 
beer 
brandy 
ice 
port 
tea 
water 
wine 
- white 
- red 
- traditional palm 
- distilled palm 
whiskey
kafe 
metan
ho susuben
serveja
tua manas
jelu
portu
xa
be
tua
tua-uvas mutin
tintu
tuaka 
tua sabu
wiski
Meals
bakso 
batar dan 
bolu 
modo fila 
modo masin 
etu 
eti fila 
gado-gado 
hudi sona
kaldeirado
karil 
ikan dan 
ikan maran 
ikan tuna
rending 
saboko 
salada 
sambal 
sasate satay
sasoro
soveti 
tein ho nu ben 
tukir
Chinese meatball soup
corn soup
cake
stir fry vegetables (equivalent cap cay – Indonesian)
salted vegetables
cooked rice
fried rice with egg (equivalent nasi goreng – Indonesian)
cooked vegetables, bean curd squares and peanut sauce
banana fritters (cooked in a batter)
boiled meat, potato, capsicum, chilli and spice with greens
curry
fish soup
dried fish
fried fish
slow cooked meat (often beef) with coconut milk and spices
sardines, tamarind sauce, spices, steamed in palm leaves
salad (greens like lettuce with garlic, vinegar and olive oil dressing)
chilli sauce (often well salted unlike the Indonesian variety)
(grilled meat on a stick, usually with a peanut sauce)
rice porridge (weaning food for infants)
ice cream
cooked in coconut milk
traditional spiced meat cooked in bamboo

Words from the Lonely Planet East Timor Phrase book

G

GOVERNMENT OF EAST TIMOR
THE WORLD’S NEWEST DEMOCRACY. Occupying 24,000 square kilometres on the eastern half of an island in the Timor Sea between Indonesia and Australia, East Timor has a population of approximately 800,000 people. The official web site for the East Timor Government.

H

HEALTH
See also IMMUNISATIONS, INFECTIONS, MALARIA

Pack a comprehensive First Aid kit. Include:

  • Antimalarials.
  • Bandaids and other simple dressings.
  • Thirty-plus Sunscreen (especially if taking doxycycline for malaria prophylaxis to minimise photosensitivity reactions).
  • Paracetamol, aspirin or ibuprofen for pain.
  • Loperamide or Lomotil and hyoscine for diarrhoea and intestinal cramps
  • Metoclopramide or prochlorperazine for nausea and vomiting.
  • A couple of broad-spectrum antibiotics like amoxycillin or ciprofloxacin for infection.
  • Betadine or another antiseptic as cuts can get quickly infected in the tropics.
  • Corticosteroid cream for itchy rashes, sunburn and mosquito bites.
  • Sleeping tablets for insomniacs and light sleepers you do get used to roosters crowing at 3 in the morning! Maybe also ear plugs if you aren't keen on the drug or desensitisation option for the crowing.
  • Enough regular medications, eg. oral contraceptives to last the visit.
  • Don't forget enough DEET based-insect repellent for your visit.

There are two hospitals in Dili.

The Dili National Hospital in Toka Baru, formerly the Red Cross Hospital, is the major hospital in Timor Leste. It provides emergency, surgical, medical, obstetric and paediatric care by a group of dedicated doctors from a variety of countries such as Australia, Holland, Philippines, Indonesia and Nepal. Some doctors, most nursing and support staff are Timorese. It is often a challenge getting through the triage system but it pays to persist. The Hospital runs a daily outpatient service which will take referral from BPC. It is best to get there early to ensure that the patient will be seen. The Hospital uses a hand-held record for noting visits and medical plans. 

Visiting specialists provide services that may not always be available in Timor Leste. The Australian College of Surgeons organises one such outreach programme with an ENT specialist and Ophthalmologist, amongst others, visiting several times a year. This does means a long wait but is still a valuable voluntary service. 

Dr Dan needs lots of encouragement to use these services. Contact Sarmento on 7235791 to get an up to date list of visiting specialists and have patients put on waiting lists.

Hospital staff will see sick expatriates but if life or limb is threatened try to go to the UN Military Hospital (UNMILHOSP, for short). Officially the UNMILHOSP only deals with UN personal but may make exceptions. It is located near the Obrigado Barracks. Previously it was run jointly by the Australian, Egyptian and Singaporean forces and located in an old museum in Comoro. The UN run another hospital in Suai. A View From the Front (opens Adobe Acrobat file) was written by a doctor working in the Comoro Hospital.

The ambulance drivers will generally take people to Dili Hospital.

The Portuguese military hospital at the helicopter base has now gone. 

The Old Portuguese Hospital, a fine old building in the foothills past Becora is still not operational as a medical facility. It is certainly cooler up there but the climb would put most locals off, which is probably why the Portuguese built it there in the first place.

Don't forget your psychological health. Make sure that you make some time to relax after a hard day at the Clinic. Music may help so bring you favourite tapes or CD and something to play them on. If you are a medical student, try to persuade another student to join you in this adventure! It's always much more fun with company, and much safer too.

I

IDENTIFICATION
There is no need to carry identification around with you. But a laminated colour photocopy of the first page of your passport can be useful for identification when visiting official buildings, the Australian Mission or the UNMILHOSP. Keep the original in a safe location. Another alternative is your Australian drivers license.

IMMUNISATIONS
Make sure your immunisations are up to date well before leaving Australia. Take into account the time it takes for your immune system to produce protective titres of antibodies.

Consider measles, BCG, hepatitis A & B, tetanus, poliomyelitis, diphtheria, cholera, typhoid and Japanese encephalitis. Rabies is also found in the Indonesian archipelago including Timor Leste. Speak with your GP or a travel medicine centre for current recommendations.

INSURANCE
Make sure that you have comprehensive travel and health insurance that is valid for Timor Leste. It should cover emergency evacuation to Darwin for a medical emergency as well as replacement of lost or stolen property. Check the exclusions in the fine print before paying the premium to make sure that you are covered in all eventualities.

You can leave important contact information with Doctor Vicki.

INFECTION
See also MALARIA

Prepare yourself before travelling and protect yourself from biting insects whilst in Timor Leste, particularly mosquitos.

Malaria and Dengue Fever (also known as "back break fever") probably are your biggest serious infectious risks although this does depend upon the time of year. The risk is greatest in the wet season when there is plenty of water lying around for mosquitoes to breed in. The risks can be minimised by avoiding mosquitoes and in the case of malaria taking suitable chemoprophylaxis.

Another viral infection called Chikungunya, (Swahili for that which contorts or bends up) may also be found in East Timor. It is very similar to Dengue fever in being spread by mosquitos and in symptoms although the fever may be shorter in duration and a haemorrhagic form does not appear to occur.

Japanese encephalitis is caused by a flavivirus and is characterised by an acute neurological syndrome including headache, fever, convulsions, focal neurological signs, reduced consciousness and coma. However, many infections are asymptomatic. It can be prevented by a vaccination which is recommended should you intend staying in an endemic area for more than a month particularly in the wet season or living in rural areas.

The risk of travellers diarrhoea can be substantially reduced by simple precautions, including eating freshly cooked food served steaming hot, eating fruit that can be peeled and drinking bottled or freshly boiled water. In addition, avoiding raw or undercooked meat, seafood, fresh salads, unpasturised milk and unboiled water and ice reduces the risk.

The people at Parunas boil water for you to reduce the risk of gastroenteritis. You will know it has been boiled as it has a smoky taste imparted by the wood fire used to cook all food. Although this seems to be sufficient to prevent travellers diarrhoea, if you are still paranoid buy sealed bottled water, from roadside stalls or the supermarkets. A short course of ciprofloxacin may be enough to treat travellers diarrhoea. 

Typhoid Fever caused by Salmonella typhii and paratypii and spread by contaminated water and food is also a risk. In the first week there is fever, then in the second, abdminal pain and rags followed by enlargement of the liver and spleen with bleeding form the gut. Shock can occur. 

STDs including HIV are a growing problem in Timor Leste. If abstinence is not a possibility remember that putting on a condoms hurts less than an injection of penicillin and is easier to handle than life-time of antiretroviral medication. In a statement issued in August 2003, a senior WHO official, discussing HIV prevalence in Asia, said, "Condoms save lives. We need to vigorously step up promotion of this life-saving device to prevent millions of people getting infected."  

Tuberculosis is a problem in Timor and working at Bairo Pite Clinic you will be exposed. You should have a Mantoux a couple of months after returning to Australia just to make sure that you haven't picked up TB. Leprosy is also a problem.

Upon return to Australia, if you do become unwell (cough, cold, diarrhoea, skin rash, fevers, aches and pains) remember to tell your doctor that you have recently been to Timor Leste.

K

KIDS ARC
Kids’ Ark - East Timor
  is a project in East Timor that is sponsored by ARMS. 

It runs both a preschool and community health project, and is involved in outreach programs into nearby village communities. "I would like to share with you the vision God has for the children in East Timor gave me long ago, about having a house for children. The way He showed me this was through the story of Noah and the ark, and how He wants to use  this house, the Kids’ Ark, as He used Noah’s ark (Genesis 6, 7and 8). The Ark: place of salvation, preservation for the next generation and hope for the future. God was going to bring judgment; the people in the ark will be the future - without those people, there would be no future. 

The Kid´s Ark Community health clinic at Sidara near Hera, is run by a Brazilian nurse named Branca. The clinic is approved by the East Timorese Department of Health, but receives no medicines or resources from them.

KLIBUR DOMIN
The Ryder-Cheshire Foundations in Australia assist with the ongoing financing of Klibur Domin.

The Foundation established a Home in the village of Tibar, 15 kilometres west of Dili, to care of patients with disabilities, and their relatives, until they are can return to their villages.  The new Home is part of a complex which was an existing Home for physically and mentally disabled people.  Eighteen residents and sixteen staff were already accommodated at the Home and we have taken responsibility for these people. We transport the patients and residents to and from the Dili Hospital as necessary while they are in our care and often arrange transport for them to return to their villages.  The new Home is called Klibur Domin Tibar, which in Tetum means “Sharing Love at Tibar” - we consider this is a most appropriate name.

The 18 buildings in the Tibar complex were not destroyed after the Referendum and they are of sound structure. However, they needed a lot of work to repair damage done by the Militia and to make them suitable for our needs. Militia and TNI did use land around Tibar to dig mass graves. Each year on the day commemorating the Santa Cruz massacre, memorial services are held at Tibar.

Victorian Rotary Clubs provided a team of volunteers to restore the buildings, working with local staff.  We also needed to furnish and equip the Home before we took in the additional patients and residents.  Most of the building material and supplies, along with household and personal items donated by people in Victoria, were loaded into a shipping container donated and transported to Dili by the Lions Club of Nunawading.

We admitted our first patients from the Dili Hospital in January 2001 and now accommodate a total of about 50 patients and residents, sometimes more.  Volunteers from Australia have organised the setting up of the Home and are also managing it in the early stages of its operation.  Eventually, the Home will be managed and staffed by East Timorese people with the assistance of international volunteers, who will provide expertise not available locally. Recently we have embarked on a Project to train eleven East Timorese people in rehabilitation techniques.  The graduates of this course will provide rehabilitation services to people who are recovering from surgery.

For more information see the Kilbur Domin website.

L

LEGENDS FROM TIMOR
On this website , you can have a glimpse at Timor, as seen through the imagination of its people... and appreciate the extraordinary ability of the Maubere in merging imagination and reality, which has been, throughout the centuries, a characteristic of their every day life!  For example The crocodile that became Timor and Letters From Timor

LA'O HAMTUK
La'o Hamutuk  or Walking Together is the newsletter for Instituto ba Analiza no Monitor Rekonstrusaun Timor Lorosa'e. [The East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis Institut Permantauan dan Analisis Reconstruksi Timor Loro Sa'e Last update

M

MALARIA PROPHYLAXIS
See also MOSQUITOS

Think about malaria prophylaxis before leaving. 

Christmas 2004 saw 9 out of 10 volunteers down with malaria with variable manifestation. One pregnant Australian volunteer returned to Darwin for treatment. In pregnancy malaria is more likely to cause a severe illness and may even result in miscarriage or illness and growth restriction in the developing baby. Volunteers should not travel to any malarious area if they are pregnant. The effect of malaria prophylaxis is uncertain, the effect of malaria potentially lethal. Another volunteer required intensive treatment at the UN military hospital. 

In 2003, a young Brazilian man working with YWAM was evacuated to Darwin with life-threatening malaria. After several weeks close to death in intensive care he survived but with renal failure requiring haemodialysis.

Rainfall and temperature are favourable for perennial malaria transmission. Transmission intensity depends on altitude and different vector habitats. Resulting endemicity can be summarised as hyperendemic, with a few limited spots reported to be holoendemic in the plains, decreasing at higher altitudes to meso-endemic, hypoendemic and non-malarious. The immune status of the adult population and thus the likely severity of a clinical malaria attack in these people will depend on previous exposure. 

Timor has more than one species of malaria vector, the Anopheles mosquito. Some breed in brackish/saline water collections in coastal areas, others in rice fields, irrigation canals and slow-moving hilly streams,  others occur in coastal and inland areas. Biting and resting habits, man-preference, and seasonal abundance of these four vector species differ. As a result, different seasonal transmission peaks occur on different parts of the island. Plasmodium falciparum, the cause of the most severe type of malaria, is responsible for 60-80% of malaria with the remainder P. vivax and very sporadic P. ovale. It is also possible to have more than one species of plasmodium infection.

A UN survey from 1998 varied the slide positive rates as 10% in Ermera to 55% in Dili to 73% in Manufahi district, with average for of almost 50%. Malnourished person and those without immunity at greatest risk, with highest risk of death in young children and pregnant women.

Up-to-date information on Malaria Prophylaxis can be obtained from various Internet sites.

World Health Organization vaccination requirements and health advice.
http://www.who.int/ith/english/index.htm

Centres for Disease Control travel information.
http://www.cdc.gov/travel/diseases.htm#malaria

Malaria epidemiological profile.
http://www.who.int/disasters/repo/5334.html

Alternatively, travel medicine clinics, advisory services and other experts can provide appropriate information. This is particularly recommended for prolonged visits, for those without a spleen, children and pregnant women.

There is no drug regimen that is completely safe and effective against malaria. The decision to use malaria chemoprophylaxis must, therefore, be made by balancing the risk of disease against the potential efficacy and toxicity of the drug (s) to be used. The risk of acquiring malaria depends on factors such as the time of year, duration of visit and type of activities undertaken. In some circumstances the risk is low and no prophylaxis needs to be taken. Bairo Pite Clinic is situated between two drainage ditches making it a mosquito prone area.

As chemoprophylaxis is not always effective any fever whilst away or after return needs urgent medical consultation and investigation.

Timor Leste has chloroquine-resistant malaria making the choices for chemoprophylaxis between:

Doxycycline 100mg orally, daily starting two days prior to leaving, during and for four weeks after returning to Australia.

OR

Mefloquine 250mg orally, weekly starting one week prior leaving, during and for 1 week after returning to Australia.

Mefloquine can cause dizziness, headache, nightmares, insomnia, depression, psychosis mental clouding and seizures. Mefloquine should not be used for people with neuropsychiatric disorders, epilepsy or cardiac conduction defects. Mefloquine can cause significant cardiotoxic problems if combined with halofantrine for subsequently treatment of malaria. If you have a serious reaction to mefloquine, doxycycline would be the next best alternative. 

Doxycycline is cheaper and seems to be a more popular choice. The added benefit of doxycycline is that your acne will improve and it may protect from other infections. Doxycycline can cause stomach upsets, diarrhoea, photosensitivity and skin rash. Always wash your Doxycycline down with a glass of water and remain upright for 30 minutes afterwards to reduce the risk of painful oesophagitis. Doxycycline should not be taken by children younger than eight years of age or if pregnant.

Signs and symptoms of suggestive of malaria are unfortunately non-specific but include;

  • Fevers, sweating, uncontrollable shivering, headache, muscle aches and fatigue
  • Vomiting and poor appetite and diarrhoea
  • Cough
  • Dark urine, jaundice
  • Enlarged spleen, anaemia
  • Skin rash
  • Impaired consciousness, seizure and coma
  • Renal failure, pulmonary oedema, hypoglycaemia, bleeding

If these occur seek immediate medical advice. One of the benefits of working at Bairo Pite Clinic is that you can then try to find the parasites in your own thick and thin blood films.

Currently Dr Dan is treating falciparum malaria with the combination of artemether injection or artemesun tablets with mefloquine despite this not being the official malaria regimen recommended by the Ministry of Health. His major rationale being the concern about Fansidar resistance. Although data has not been collected in Timor Leste, apart from a small project carried out by a visiting medical student, the BPC regimen appears to be successful.

ONE BITE CAN MAKE YOU SICK DON'T LET THEM BITE YOU!

MOSQUITO AVOIDANCE

Use an effective personal insect repellent containing DEET for example, Rid, Bushman or Tropical Strength Aeroguard.

Use an insecticide for indoor use. Burn Mosquito coils.

Wear light-coloured long trousers and long-sleeved shirts in the evening.

Sleep in screened accommodation or use a well maintained mosquito net that is pyrethroid impregnated.

Avoid outside activities between dusk and dawn.

Avoid strong deodorants, perfume and aftershaves.

MAPS
A map of Timor Leste can come in handy. One can be purchased from Bookworld [(08) 89815277. Email is bookworld_Darwin@bigpond.com] in Darwin before leaving for around AUD $10.

Links to maps

map02.gif (14484 bytes)

map004.jpg (138755 bytes)

map002.gif (85326 bytes)

map003.gif (67567 bytes)

backgroundmap.gif (51791 bytes)

Map of where Timor is in the world Map of Timor Leste Map of Dili Map showing distribution of East Timorese languages  Map of disputed oil fields.

For Maps of Timor showing rainfall, temperature, land use etc go to the Timor Agriculture website.

For an A3 sized map (1123 kb) of Timor Leste
Map thumbnail
http://www.turismotimorleste.com/dl/Timor-Leste.jpg

MEDICAL EDUCATION
If you feel that you are not learning enough with Dr Murphy every Tuesday evening there is a continuing education meeting for UN doctors at the UNMILHOSP. Medical students including the Timorese should be encouraged to attend. The flavour, as expected, is orientated to trauma.

Get to know the doctors especially the commanding officer who work at the UNMILHOSP as they can get things done for locals by bending the rules. Don't chuckle too much when you see Australian doctors and nurses wander around the hospital with Steyr rifles!

Foreign medical students are currently not welcome to do their elective at the Dili Hospital. However there may be access to continuing education and up to two student may participate in ward rounds once a week. 

MOSQUITO AVOIDANCE
Significant protection is conferred by these measures:

  • Use an effective personal insect repellent containing DEET for example, Rid, Bushman or Tropical Strength Aeroguard.
  • Use an insecticide for indoor use. Mosquito coils can be helpful.
  • Wear light-coloured long trousers and long-sleeved shirts in the evening.
  • Sleeping in screened accommodation or using mosquito nets or better still use one that is pyrethroid impregnated.
  • Avoid outside activities between dusk and dawn.
  • Avoid strong deodorants, perfume and aftershaves.

In Timor Leste mosquitoes are responsible for the spread of malaria, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis and possibly other arthropod-borne viruses. In addition, mosquito bites are irritating and vigorously scratching them can lead to infection. Local anaesthetic or a mild corticosteroid cream may to reduce the itch.

MUSIC
Portable MP3, CD and tape players a can be a good escape from the hustle and bustle. Pirated CDs and tapes are readily available. Young Timorese would love to swap or be given CDs or tapes.

Traditional Timorese music can sometimes be heard on the radio and be seen live at weddings and political rallies.

N

NGOs 
Bairo Pite Clinic is not the only place in Timor Leste to work. Click on the links below to see many other organisations working to assist the East Timorese people. These NGOs work in a variety of areas apart from health; from IT training, music, agriculture to human rights. Most list contact names, email addresses and telephone numbers. 

Directory of  International NGOs in East Timor (Opens a pdf file 137 KB, updated August 2004)

Directory of East Timorese NGOs (Opens a pdf file 139 KB, updated September 2004)

P

PALÅCIO DO GOVERNO
Previously known as PLANET UNTAET this was the building that housed the United Nations Transitional Authority in East Timor. It has now been handed over to the East Timorese government. 

You can't miss it. It still the big white building with a the red, yellow and black flag of Timor Leste flying out the front looking out on Dili harbour still with many four wheel drives parked out the front. Each evening around 6 pm, the traffic is halted outside the building and the flag is lowered for the night. 

PERSONAL HYGIENE
Toilets and showers are different in Timor. The toilets are mostly squats that you need to pour a ladle of water into once the business has been completed. There are some sit on toilets (like home) but they don't flush and generally several ladles of water are required to make sure everything deposited is flushed away. Toilet paper is an optional extra. The local custom is to wash the bottom with the left hand using a ladle of water. This is one of the reasons why you shake the right hand, and in Islamic Indonesia eat with right and have the right hand lopped of for stealing! Toilet paper can be purchased from one of the western supermarkets in Dili.

Showering is a simple affair, ladling water over your head from a tub of water cold water. Very invigorating early in the mornings especially up in the mountains. It also makes for very economical use of water. There is a hot shower BPC courtesy of a YWAM project. The only problem was the water heater was turned and locked off whilst I was there. 

Use boiled or bottled water to clean your teeth to reduce the risk of gastroenteritis. Yeh and don't eat the ice.

Tampons may not be readily available in Dili, although the Clinic has a supply donated by a charity that didn't realise that the local women prefer to use pads. An alternative would be to discuss with your doctor about suppressing menstruation with an oral contraceptive whilst away.

PHOTOGRAPHY

"Life is full of missed photo opportunities!"

There are lots of things to point a camera at in Timor Leste. Make sure you have plenty of film or kilobytes if you are digital. It is cheaper to buy it before you leave Australia. The duty free shop at Darwin airport has film at a good price.

Before taking a photograph ask permission. "Senor(a), Hau bele hasai fotografia?" accompanied by a gesture towards the subject with a camera would be sufficient. Some people may get upset if you do so without permission. Of course, it will mean that you end up taking a posed photograph rather than something more spontaneous. Take lots of photographs; especially ones with you in them, so that people back home will relate better to your experiences. Photographs of your experience are great motivators for others to get involved too!

There are a number of mini-labs that can develop your photographs in Dili, however they are not cheap and the quality is variable.

PIGS, GOATS & DOGS
When walking around Dili you will quickly encounter one of the many pigs that keep the streets clean of organic matter. Be aware that the pigs have been known to be aggressive. Ask anyone who has worked in the emergency room about the countless dog and pig bites inflicted mostly upon children.

Remember too watch were you step. Animal faeces is a problem. To keep cool some of the pigs can be seen wallowing in open drains. It doesn't take too much imagination what sort of disease risks all these animals create.

Other animals that you may spot include dogs, cats, monkeys, chooks, goats, cows, horses and buffalo.

These animals are all owned by someone. Remember that when one runs under your tyres as you will have pay some form of compensation. The Government is trying to clear some of these feral animals by collecting them and giving them to poor people or groups like BPC. Whilst I was there a pair of goats were cleaning up around the clinic being fattened up for dinner.

PKF
Peace Keeping Force is the collective term for the all the soldiers and police who have come from all over the world to help keep Timor Leste safe until it can get itself working as an independent country. Notable amongst the PKF are troops from Portugal, Kenya, Brazil, Egypt, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

PFKs have all disappeared from the streets of Dili, but may still be seen at Obrigadu Barracks.

POSTAGE
Mail into Dili remains unreliable and letters do go astray or take an excessively long time to reach you. However if you do want to try to receive mail it can be sent to:

Your Name
C/- Bairo Pit Clinic
PO Box 259
Dili Timor Leste

Sending mail out also poses similar problems.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

Date Day

Holiday

1st January 

Wednesday

New Year’s Day
(Solemnity of Santa Maria, Mother of God)

18th April

Friday

Good Friday

1st May

Thursday

Labour Day

15th August

Friday

Assumption Day

30th August

Saturday

Constitution Day

20th September

Saturday

Liberation Day

1st November

Saturday

All Saints' Day

8th December

Monday

Immaculate Conception

25th December

Thursday

Christmas Day

R

REGISTRATION
It is recommended for your safety's sake that you visit the Australian Mission (the equivalent of an embassy) and register your presence in Dili. It is not compulsory but would assist in your evacuation should there be any further violence in Dili.

For other nationalities, the same is recommended.

S

SHOPPING
See also SOUVENIRS

Various supermarkets in Dili sell familiar food items and consumables including Bundaberg ginger beer, Paul's Ice Coffee and film. Hello Mister in central Dili was one of the best stocked supermarkets. Unfortunately, it was burnt down in the December riots and so far has not been rebuilt. There are other well-stocked supermarkets in and around Dili. A couple are in the centre of Dili and another is near the the bridge in Comoro towards the Airport.

In addition to the supermarkets, there are hundred of road side stall selling a wide variety of goods; not just food. There are several markets, the largest at Comoro where you can spend a day wandering around stalls and buy almost everything. In the suburbs there are the equivalent of the corner shop; usually several along each street. Here you can but cold drinks and most food items as well as cleaning products and small electrical goods.

SECURITY
The clinic doesn't have a safe to store your passport and spare cash. However the accommodation has proved to be very secure in the past with nothing important going astray over the last two years. Not all the bedroom doors can be locked but this hasn't proved to be a security problem. Dr Dan may be able to look after your valuables such as money and passports as he has a locked cupboard at his house. If staying at Thrifty your room can be locked.

In light of the current situation here in East Timor, it is advisable that people be both well informed and aware of the conditions that they are entering. There is a number of texts and information that is available on the internet regarding security and travel. For those that are intending to travel to East Timor a simple yet handy starting point is the attached document available from UNHCR. Click here to open the Adobe Acrobat file: Security in the Field

See also the Travel Advice from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for East Timor.

SOUVENIRS
Souvenirs include sea shells, carved buffalo horns, traditional knives and swords, weaving and wood carvings all of which you may get hassled for by Customs on return to Australia. Safe items are photographs (taken by yourself), sarongs, local coffee, blankets and Tais. Barter. Start at half price then negotiate a mutually acceptable price.

Traditional Crafts of Timor Leste: A Marketing Overview

This Marketing Overview has been initiated in response to the objective of the METHS collective and has focused on tais production and marketing. The concept for the project is a result of discussions between METHS, The Alola Foundation (based in East Timor’s capital, Dili), Oxfam East Timor (staff based in Dili) and an independent consultant.

(From this document)

Originally worn or only used in ceremonies, tais are now marketed as a commercial product. There have been many different products developed using tais fabric in an attempt to expand the market. In Ainaro District one group has been making tablecloths, bedclothes, pillowcases, bags, serviettes etc. Other groups in Dili have become quite innovative with new product designs. Mobile phone cases made from tais can be seen in the tais market along with a variety of designs of hats and bags. Tais can also be produced custom made with a name or word woven into the design. 

Most tais currently available on the Dili market are produced using commercial pre-dyed thread imported from Indonesia. During the Indonesian period these threads became more popular and available. They are produced in 12 colours and can be purchased in Dili at Comoro and Becora markets as well as in various shops. The approximate cost for one small skein is US$0.10 and for one large skein is US$0.50. The small skeins can also be bought in packets of 10 or 100. Most producer groups in the districts held similar opinions regarding choice of threads. Groups in Maliana, Los Palos, Baucau and Ainaro districts are still able to produce traditional cotton but use Indonesian threads. They consider the Indonesian threads to be less time consuming and believe that foreigners prefer the brighter colours. 

Tais production groups in Oe-cusse currently have some cotton trees in their rice fields and are still spinning cotton for tais production. Most of the traditional cotton is used for producing tais for that purposes as it makes a heavier cloth. The women reported that one of the reasons for still using handspun cotton is the lack of capital to purchase Indonesian threads. 

Cottonseeds are still available for purchase in limited amounts in some districts such as Maliana, Ainaro, Oe-cusse and Viqueque. Cotton trees have an approximate productive life span of five years. From flower to cotton the time span is about one month. Traditional plant dye knowledge does not appear to have been lost even though it is only rarely utilized in current tais production.

Up to eight colours can be made using traditional dye methods including:

  • Yellow : using turmeric cooked into the thread
  • Black : by soaking the thread in dark clay and mud (originally this was the water and mud from the buffalo pools, but was banned during Indonesian times due to health issues)
  • White : the natural cotton washed and lightened in the sun
  • Other colours such as green, blue, pink, red, violet, are achieved using particular plants, barks, leaves, berries and fruit rinds.

One group in Baucau expressed that they still know how to use traditional methods of dying, but do not consider the colour quality to be good enough. One production group in Oe-cusse is still using black, white, red and yellow traditional dyes. It is reported to take one day of walking to find the plants in the forest, another day to make the tint, and one to three days, sometimes up to a week to cook the dye into the cotton thread.

The NGO Loron Aban Hahu Ohin (LAHO) in Baucau District are a group producing selendang tais from locally produced silk. Silk worm eggs are imported from Indonesia and grown, hatched, fed and processed at LAHO’s mulberry and silk farm. Silk has never been produced before in East Timor. Technical assistance has been provided to the project through Australian Volunteers International with funding support from Ausaid. Once the thread is produced, commercial dyes from Indonesia are used, and the thread is woven into tais using the manual backstrap weaving technique. Prices for the products are approximately the same as the cotton tais as the group have not yet worked out costings. Only a limited amount of silk tais have been produced to date due to technical problems with the thread produced, and the small number of weavers. At present, these silk tais can only be purchased at the project site in Baucau as a marketing strategy is yet to be developed and demand for the product has not yet been assessed.

T

TAXIS
There is a plentiful supply of taxis in Dili, mostly modern Lasers, Corollas or Civics with the occasional blue Singapore import. They make their presence known by sneaking up on you whilst walking then scaring you with the horn. In the short walk to the clinic you may get asked by at least a dozen! Waving will only encourage them. Try a flat side to side wave with the hand or just ignore them. 

Taxi drivers will give you no change, so make sure you have the right amount for example, USD$1 for a trip anywhere within Dili. Longer fares are negotiable. Trips to the airport will cost USD$5. It is important to negotiate the price before embarking on the journey.

Taxi drivers are nicer to you if you speak Tetum. Taxi drivers themselves often have a companion for safety, especially late at night. Taxis are hard to get at night. However, if you are in the middle of town, you should always be able to find one and get yourself home again unless it is really late.

TELEPHONE
Timor Telecom has recently taken over from Telsta MobilNet for running telecommunication in East Timor. Apart from a new number and increased cost, the dial tone sounds remarkably like an engaged signal so don't hang up, just wait and someone will answer you call - if the network is working. Timor Leste' international telephone code is 670. Local numbers are then seven digits. Most mobile numbers begin 723. Timor Telecom enquiries line is 172 and phone number information 128.

Local land-line calls now attract a charge of US$0.14 per minute. 

Your mobile phone remains your lifeline back to Australia. Before taking you mobile phone with you make sure that that it is not regionally locked to Australia as some pre-paid mobiles are. Call your service provider and ask if it can be used on the East Timor network. Once you arrive in East Timor you will need to buy a local Timor Telecom SIM card. Budget for $25 (March 2003). You will then need to let everyone back home what your new number is as the number changes with the change of SIM card.

Your mobile telephone will be your contact with most other people in Dili as landlines are not yet fully working. Most people including many Timorese will have a mobile.

Don't forget to take your telephone battery recharger and an adaptor (2 round pins).

Recharging credits can be done by buying a phone card from one of the many street hawkers around central Dili. You may not be able to charge it to a credit card as you may be used to doing. 

Your mobile telephone will only work in Dili at the moment. There is no coverage outside of Dili and you will need to rely on landlines or carrier pigeon.

Useful numbers

Add (670) when dialling from overseas

 
AMBULANCE TIMOR       723 0686 FIRE 723 0686
AUSTRALIAN EMBASSY  332 2111 POLICE EMERGENCY NUMBER  723 0686
BAIRO PITE CLINIC    332 4118 THRIFTY CAR RENTAL  723 1900
DR DAN MURPHY 723 8343

TETUM & LANGUAGES
(See also the Tetum web page)

Tetum sometimes spelt Tetun, is spoken by most people in Dili and the surrounding region. Around 30 different languages are spoken throughout Timor Loro-sa'e. Portuguese is the official language but more people speak Indonesian, which can be very useful in areas where Tetum is not spoken.

A couple of books that you will find useful to help you learn Tetum are;

Tetun Language Course by Catherina Williams-van Klinken published by Peace Corp East Timor 2003. Enquire at peacecorpa@tl.peacecorps.gov or PO Box 310 Dili East Timor (332 1948) USD$15 bought in Timor Leste 

Tetum Language Manual for East Timor by Geoffrey Hull published by the Academy of East Timor studies. University of Western Sydney. December 2000. ISBN: 186341875X Costs about AUD $20. Email details are: s.lester@uws.edu.au

Mai Kolia Tetun (A beginner's course in Tetum-Praca; the Lingua Franca of East Timor) also by Geoffrey Hull. Published by Caritas and the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, North Sydney. Third edition, 1999. ISBN: 0646150715. Costs about AUD $30. This book is also available with three audio cassettes that cost around AUD $70. These are useful as it gives you the correct pronunciations for many of the words.

Lonely Planet's East Timor Phrase Book by John Hajeh and Alexandre Tilman. ISBN is 1740 590201. Cost is about AUD $11. This pocket size phrasebook comes highly recommended and best bought and studied before leaving.

East Timor Tetun Guide to Daily Conversation. Jose Aparicio Aug 2001. ISBN 0957 931506 Approx $25.00. This is a new Tetum dictionary and phrase book.

Standard Tetum-English Dictionary by Dr Geoffrey Hull. Published by Allen & Unwin and the University of Western Sydney MacArthur. ISBN: 1 86508 206 6. Email details are: frontdesk@allen-unwin.com.au.

Short English-Tetum Dictionary by Dr Geoffrey Hull. Published by the Academy of East Timor Studies.

A Travellers Dictionary by Cliff Morris. Published by Baba Dook Books. ISBN: 959 1922 2 0

Some of these can purchased from Bookworld [(08) 89815277] in Darwin Mall or Angus & Robertson in the Galleria [(08) 8941 3489] or Casuarina [(08) 8927 2539].

Also consider an Indonesian - English and English - Portuguese Dictionary. 

Have a look at the medical words in Tetum on this site.

TIME ZONE
Timor Leste is half an hour behind Darwin time (CST) which makes time in Dili as GMT + 9 hrs. There is no daylight saving.

TOURIST STUFF

Atauro Island
Oxfam run a eco-tourism resort on the island of Atauro which can be seen from Dili, albeit sometimes in a haze. It costs about $US10 a night. This is about 30 km from Dili across the Wetar Straits and takes about 5 to 6 hours aboard a local sail boat. It is faster if the rice-bag sails are hoisted. A fare will cost about $USD15. The timing of the journey is tied to the local tides and seem to go across on Thursday, Friday and Saturday returning on Monday and Tuesday. Contact Octogon PTE

The hosts speak English and offer clean accommodation made from local materials such as split bamboo an palm thatch. The huts are located on the beach to catch the cool breezes. You will need to bring your own mosquito nets and mosquito repellent comes in handy. A shallow reef can be found 100 meters from the beach and is ideal for snorkelling. You can rent snorkelling gear and an outrigger canoe.

If you stand on the rocky outcrops that face Dili you can send and receive SMS messages. There are no telephones lines to Dili as yet. 

There is a 9000 foot mountain to climb on Atauro. A guided walk will cost US$5 for the 4 hour walk. From the top you can see half of East Timor. Remember it will be quite surprisingly chilly for a tropical island at the summit. Most of Atauro, 6 km across, can be visited on foot but a Timor pony can be hired from the resort. You can buy some food but most of it canned apart from fresh fish. You can always bring fresh food and a beer or two from Dili in an esky.

Com Beach Resort
Approximately a 3½ hour drive along the coast to the east of Dili, this new beachfront resort is in the district of Los Palos and within easy reach of Tutuala and Jaco Island. There are beaches, mountain ranges and coral reefs with diving and snorkelling. You can explore caves with fascinating tribal rock art, visit the ruins of old Portuguese forts, plus there is year-round ocean fishing with dolphins and whales a common sight throughout. Com Beach Resort offers clean, comfortable good quality budget accommodation - although this is from their web site as I haven't been. I have however heard it is much nicer than Dili and would be a great place to chill out after a couple months of seeing patients before heading home. Worth a treat? Costs $70 to $80 a night. Contact via
satellite phone +62 868 114 11111 or via Timor Lodge Hotel 332 4227.

Mt Ramelau
Mt Ramelau at 2964 metres is the highest point in East Timor and near Ainaro. Ramelau, the Mountain of the Resistance, it is a place of special significance to the Falintil and to all East Timorese. Looking down on East Timor from above the clouds must have made for an unusual experience. 

Atop Ramelau, stands a three meters high white statue of the Virgin Mary. Some say that the on enduring the climb to reach her, enveloped in the mist that swirl around the summit, is a religious experience in itself. During the oppressive years of Indonesia's rule, Timorese would climb this mountain in search of hope. 

Scuba Diving
There are some easily reached reefs around East Timor, the reefs off Christo Rei being very accessible from the shore for snokelling. 

There are a number of business offering dives. Go the following sites to get an idea.

http://www.divetimor.com
Mark: 723 7092

dive@thefreeflow.com
723 4614

Dili Dive Centre
723 4590

Check out photos from dives at http://www.fowlie.bc.ca/et/scuba.html

Sea journeys
Haritos Shipping offer passage to Suai on the south coast and to Pantemakassar in the Oe-cusse enclave an isolated bit of East Timor within Indonesia. In fact, a trip to Oe-cusse requires a sea journey to avoid crossing into Indonesia. It costs abou $30

WELCOME TO DILI: A new nation puts out welcome mat for tourists.

Sunday Tasmanian (Australia) October 19, 2003 Sunday. By: Ellen Whinnett

EAST Timor is just a few hundred kilometres north-west of Darwin. This beautiful island has been off-limits for tourists in recent years because of widespread violence carried out by militia groups in the wake of the 1999 referendum that saw East Timor become independent.

Australia played a pivotal role in helping East Timor establish itself as an independent nation after 25 years of Indonesian occupation. Consequently, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade warns tourists against visiting East Timor, saying terrorist threats have been made against Australians and that extreme care should be taken in public places such as restaurants and bars.

While the threat of a Bali-style attack is something that can never be completely ruled out, it is possible to have a safe and happy holiday in East Timor by taking the usual precautions, such as not going out alone at night, taking taxis instead of walking around the capital Dili after dark, avoiding political demonstrations and not exhibiting expensive jewellery or cameras. In fact, the East Timorese people are so delightfully friendly that Dili feels as safe and welcoming as anywhere in Australia. East Timor's foreign minister Jose Ramos-Horta, visiting Australia in July, pleaded with the Federal Government to lift its travel warnings and encourage people to visit his homeland. 

East Timor is a tropical country with a wet and dry season, and temperatures that hover from the high 20s to the high 30s year-round. It has stark, dramatic mountains which lead down to the coastline, and is surrounded by amazing beaches in white, yellow and black sand. Snorkelling and diving are being promoted by tour operators as a way of discovering the beautiful coral reefs that lie just offshore.

The high number of troops and non-government organisations (NGOs) which arrived in the country in the lead-up to the referendum vote and in the aftermath means Dili is well served with hotels, tiny bars and restaurants catering to foreigners. Many of these venues are almost empty now, as troops and aid workers gradually leave the country.

Dili and East Timor's second-largest town, Baucau, were virtually destroyed only four years ago in the independence struggle. But the East Timorese are an extraordinarily resilient people and they have rebuilt their towns, opening shops, little bakeries and tiny stalls selling noodles and fried rice.

The country was under Portuguese rule for hundreds of years before the Indonesians moved in, and the influence of the two cultures is obvious. Grand white buildings which survived the riots are spread out on the esplanade running along Dili's foreshore. Dotted along the roads running back from the beach are the anything-goes style of shops found all over Asia, crammed with magazines, cans of food, plastic toys, thongs and cheap CDs. Look closer and you'll find tiny thatched stalls set up over waterways and in spare corners, where families sell bananas, sweets and bottles of water for a few cents.

East Timor has a population of just 850,000 people, and most live in Dili. But somehow, the capital retains the feel of a small country town. Perhaps it's the complete lack of high-rise buildings, or the profusion of banana plantations sprouting up on every second block. Maybe it's the long, black-sand beach where children gather each evening to play soccer on a makeshift ground, ignoring the threats of salt-water crocodiles which apparently visit this beach every now and again.

A giant statue of Jesus stands guard over Dili, similar to the icon at Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, or San Sebastian in Spain. Scattered along the waterfront, thatched bars and cafes offer barbecued fish and cold Timor beer. Australian wines are readily available for around $29 bottle, but be prepared to drink your shiraz cold, as all wine comes well-chilled from the fridge. Dili smells like fish, ripened bananas and clove cigarettes. It is noisy, crammed with battered old taxis and buzzing motorbikes and reggae-inspired local music. It is also friendly, welcoming and laid-back in that somnolent way that hot-climate beachside cities often are.

Dili has no real nightclub scene. There are no insistent hordes of craft vendors trying to sell you imitation designer clothes. But if you are a man, or you can disguise yourself as one, you can go and watch a cockfight, where the winner takes the money and the body of the feathered loser. These male-only events are held near the local markets, so get the males in your group to ask for directions and you'll soon find a group of a hundred or so people clustered around a dusty ring, where two prize roosters with blades tied to their legs fight each other to the death. The high regard in which fighting roosters are held is obvious around Dili. It seems most men have a pet rooster tied to a chair nearby. If blood sports or chewing the local narcotic, betelnut, hold no appeal, visit Timor's food, craft and cloth vendors, who are an absolute delight. The local cloth is known as teis, and is available at the dusty teis market, near the main cathedral. Outside the market, roving vendors, mostly old men, wander about with giant piles of teis heaped on their heads. They also sell wood carvings, brass ornaments and the old Timorese currency, which has been replaced by the US dollar as the official currency. No matter how you try to resist, you will end up buying an elasticised wooden bracelet, and traditional musical instruments make nice souvenirs, as does the local coffee, organically produced and one of East Timor's few export commodities. 
Cheerful boys on bicycles will sell you the recharge cards you need to work your mobile phone. The boys can also help you track down English-language newspapers and deliver them to you, or even sell you a T-shirt emblazoned with images of Xanana Gusmao, the country's revered president and long-time freedom fighter.

Dili has no street signs, so navigate your way around by using reference points such as hotels, cathedrals, embassies or United Nations bases. Children will besiege you asking you to take their photograph. Digital technology means you can show them their own photograph straight away, a move guaranteed to cause much giggling and excitement.

Trip Tips

  • Air North flies from Darwin to Dili. A return ticket costs about $500.
  • The Hotel Turismo is a popular ex-pat hang-out, and rents room on a short-term or long-term basis. Rooms cost around $29, including breakfast.
  • A hefty $35 entry fee must be paid on arrival at the airport, and the
    departure tax is $10.
  • The going rate for a taxi around town is apparently 50 cents, but it's almost impossible for visitors to pay less than $1 a trip.
  • Local food stalls sell curries and noodles for $1.50. Hotels and restaurants charge about $7 for fish, chicken and beef dishes, usually with rice and salad.
  • Malaria and dengue fever are a real risk in the wet season, even in Dili, so take anti-malarial medication and try to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

More East Timor tourist stuff can be found at the  web site and the  websites

Useful Tourist Contacts

Asia Planet Net

Discover Dili

GoEastTimor.com

Harvey World Travel 723 6500, 723 6501, 331 1140  

Lonely Planet

Intrepid Travel

Sojourn on Line: East Timor Travels

Timor Megatours 723 9004

The Unofficial Guide to East Timor

Turismo de Timor-Leste The official tourism website

TRAVELLING TO DILI

Perkins and Haritos Shipping are the major freight companies that carry goods between Darwin and Dili but unfortunately neither carry passengers.

Airnorth [(08) 8945 2866 or 1800 627 474; http://www.airnorth.com.au] fly between Dili and Darwin twice a day. Book your flight several weeks ahead to get the best price. K-class tickets are available for medical volunteers who spend time at Bairo Pite Clinic. 

Recently Virgin Blue offered cheap flights into Darwin from other places in Australia for volunteers to connect with AirNorth. 

Airnorth operate Brasilias, a small twin-engine aircraft. Because of its small size luggage weight and size is restricted. The current luggage restriction is 13 kg although you don't get charged until the scales exceed 20 kg. Then it about $4/kg.

Alternatives particularly if you are flying in from the US or Europe is via Bali with Merpati [(08) 8941 1606] or for the adventurous via Kupang in West Timor then overland to Dili. Before thinking about the latter contact the Australian or your local embassy embassy for up to date safety advice.

U

UNIVERSAL PRECAUTIONS
Sorry but this is a reminder that blood borne diseases are in Dili. HIV, hepatitis B and C testing is not routinely done so people wont know if they have these blood borne infections or not. Treat all blood and body secretions as potentially infectious.

V

VISA AND EMBASSIES
East Timor passports are available from the Ministry of Justice for all citizens. Hong Kong provides passport holders a seven day free visa and the Republic of Singapore a 30 day free visa. For all other locations, local fees apply. As from 19th April 2003, foreign visitors will be required to pay an entry fee of $30 with each 30 day extension costing an additional $30. An exit fee of $10 is also required.

Upon arrival in East Timor, Australians receive a 30-day visa.

The location of where you go to renew your visa has apparently changed and with it so has the complexity.

Visa Extension for the Volunteer 
All the volunteers of Bairo Pite Clinic are supposed to be entitled to “Fee-free Visa Renewal”. However, things at the Ministry of Interior, particularly the visa section, are subject to change. Thus, remain cautious and update the information as necessary. 

Start at least 1 week before the expiry date of your current visa as it requires some time. 

You will require

  • One current passport-size photo (always bring half a dozen passport sized photos with you as  it saves time trying to find someone who can do it Dili.
  • Photocopy of passport (1st page) with current visa stamp obtained.
  • Application for permit-extension (form to be obtained from Internal Ministry or photocopy from the original in the office).
  • Authorization from Bairo Pite Clinic signed by BPC manager (Celeste).
  • Letter from Ministry of Interior to Dr Dan, signed by Snr. Rogerio Tiago Lobato & Dr Dan. 
  • Copy of NGO forum letter of registration

How to do it

  • Go to Ministry of Interior Building the lime/yellow building, opposite to Tropical Bakery in Villa Verde for renewal.
  • Submission of visa renewal time is only 9 am to 12 pm Monday to Friday. Try to get there early in the morning.
  • Collect the renewed visa a week later between 2 am and 4 pm Mondau to Friday.

it is recommended to go as with a someone to translate but to do the renewal one at a time as in the past there was a case when several of the volunteers were rejected for visa fee exemption. 

In any case, please have USD $35 when you go to for submission in case the rule has been changed. 

Contact details for Embassies, Consulates etc

Add 670 to telephone numbers when calling from outside of Timor Leste 

Embassy Contact numbers Email or website
Australia

- Av. dos Martires da Patria

- Ms Margaret Twomey Ambassador to East Timor

332 2111

Fax 332 2247

Consular Duty Officer (24 hour): +61 2 6261 3305

austemb_dili@dfat.gov.au joaquina.do.fonesca@dfat.gov.au
Brazil

- Av Governador Serpa Rosa, Farol

332 1728 eastimor@office.net.au
China

- Av Governador Serpa Rosa, Farol

332 5163   
European Commission

  - Rua Santo Antonio de Moteal, Farol

332 5171 ectimot@mail.timortelecom.tp

 
Indonesia

Farol Dili PO Box 207

3317 7107 or 331 1109 kukridil@hotmail.com
Ireland  

- 12 Rua Alferes Duuarte Abiro, Farol

332 4880 ireland@arafura.net.au
Japan 

- Avenida de Portugal, Pantai Kalapa

332 3131 www.mofa.go.jp
japrepet@yahoo.com.jp
Korea

- Avenida de Portugal, Motael

332 1635 www.mofat.go.kr/easttimor
koreadili@mofat.go.kr
Malaysia

- Av Almirante Americo Thomas Rua de Thomas Mandarin

332 1804 and 331 1141 mwdili@mail.timortelecom.tp

 

New Zealand

- Waterfront Farol Rua Mares Duarte Arbiro

7230928 nzrepdili@bigpond.com
www.mfat.govt.nz
Portugal

- Rua Dr Antonio de Carvalho

331 2533 embaixadade.portugal@embpor.th
Thailand

- Hotel Timor Rua dos Martires da Patricia

331 4502 diliemb@mfa.go.th
thiadili@mserv.mfa.go.th

 

United Kingdom (honorary consul only)

- Av de Portugal, Pantai Kalapa

331 2652 or 723 1604 dili.fco@gtnet.gov.uk
www.ico.gov.uk
herminia.freitas@fco.gov.uk

Website for the Jakarta Embassy http://www.britain-in-indonesia.or.id/

United States

- Av de Portugal Prai dos Coqueiros

332 4684 steinsb@state.gov

 

VITAMINS
For a general pick me up it would be a good idea to take a daily multivitamin to supplement the rice and stews.

W

WASTE MANAGEMENT
Like most organisations in East Timor, disposal of waste material represents a problem for Bairo Pite Clinic. In East Timor there is very little being done to reduce the amount of waste material, nor is there any system of classification of material based on long term sustainable usage of the resources.

The main dump for East Timor is located at Tibar 12km west of Dili, although there is plenty of rubbish stacked in and around Dili. This is where the Clinic dumps its rubbish. At Tibar people can be seen scavenging through the rubbish to try to find items that may still have some use. 

Most domestic waste tends to get burned in drainage ditches. The acrid smell of burning plastics invokes some of the feeling that would have been around when Dili was burned by the militia in 1999.

WEATHER
Timor has two annual seasons determined by the monsoon. The wind blows from the northeast (wet season) from November to May, carrying thunderstorms and rain. Whilst during the dry season, moderate winds from Australia are fresh bringing little rain and lower night time temperatures. The temperature difference between the seasons is minimal.

Places in the mountains can get chilly at night so you may need some extra clothing, and even a sleeping bag, to keep warm if you plan to venture into the higher altitudes.

Click here for an up to date weather report from Accuweather.com

WORKING IN THE CLINIC
Communicate well ahead of time regarding you visit as there are often several other people in the clinic and it does become quite disruptive to have too many volunteers at one time. 

Contact Dr Dan on 723 8343 or drdanmurphy@yahoo.com or Celeste at aletisoares@yahoo.com

The following information would be a good start

  • Name
  • Home country and place of origin.
  • Date of arrival.
  • Date of departure.
  • Duration of stay.
  • Email address or other contact detail.
  • Skills or qualifications and interests.
  • What can you provide for the clinic and what you can bring.

If you are a doctor - get a stamp made to use for letters to the Dili Hospital or other correspondence.

Name
Qualifications
Bairo Pite Clinic
Mobile phone number and email.

Take a plentiful supply of disposable gloves with you, particularly if you have an unusually small or large hand size. You will also need a stethoscope and torch. An auroscope and ophthalmoscope with a supply of fresh batteries means you wont have to pinch Dr Dan's half way through a consultation. Consider any other favourite pieces of medical equipment.

If you maintain the habit of keeping your stethoscope draped around your neck then everyone will know what your role in the clinic is. Dan is never seen without his favourite Littman's around his neck!

Dr Dan has a pretty comprehensive medical library but you may appreciate ready access to a handbook. The Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine, Oxford Handbook of Medical Specialty and Oxford Handbook of Tropical Medicine would cover most eventualities. But remember your luggage limit!

DR DAN'S 20 TOP SUGGESTIONS FOR KEEPING VOLUNTEERS BUSY AT BPC

(1) Learn Tetum: first and foremost.

As much as for practical use, the language is the key to reach people’s heart. (Indonesian is also very useful - MDR). 

(2) Join morning ward rounds. 

He starts a little before 8am Monday – Saturday, 9am on Sundays. This is a great chance to learn clinical long-term treatment procedure. You may be assigned to follow up specific cases to support his/her treatment.

(3) Assist nurses with in-patients care.

You'll find out about most of the cases when you are going rounds with Dr Dan. Work with the nurses, sharing your knowledge and their experiences. They are receptive when you show them the new methods, include them in any activities. They may appear to prefer the old ways, but give them time to slowly shift. Take time to teach them and slowly implement. 

Also, work on the implementing improvements in patient care for the nurses. Currently the patients are checked only with certain criteria and frequency throughout the day.

(4) Work with Marcia (Nutritionist) with checking growth of children.

She weighs kids on admission and regularly to monitor their growth. Learn to assess underweight children, you'll need a tape measure and scales. Determine weight for age, weight for height and height for age. Assist in teaching strategies for improving nutrition with parents of children with malnutrition. 

(5) Assist with midwives with prenatal visits, labour and delivery.

(6) Teach newborn examination to midwives.

(7) Teach newborn resuscitation to midwives.

Remember the principles of drying, warming and stimulation. Suction meconium. Unfortunately oxygen is not available, limiting neonatal resuscitation. Mouth to nose resuscitation is the only substitute available.

(8) Teach English to staff.

Through helping their work as mentioned above, you can teach them English in exchange to your learning Tetum from them. It will be of your benefit as well as theirs as they will have more opportunities to go to various training, schools, etc. 

(9) Work with Pharmacy staff a system for controlling pharmacy and laboratory stock.

Critical ordering points, stock rotation, regular inventories...

(10) Learn how to do a Gram, Giemsa stain and Ziehl-Neison stains.

(11) Learn what TB and malaria look like.

Currently there is a test cross-exam system in the lab. Have a look and re-construct to a simpler system and implement either system in order to improve the quality of the lab results. 

(11) Observe medical consults.

Arrange the time to sit in for consults with Dr Dan or other volunteers so that everyone has equal chance to learn.

(12) Work on articles and photos suitable for website

The BPC website has been a great resource to promote the work the clinic does in Timor Leste. Through it all sorts of people have donated time and resources to assist with its mission of assisting the poor. Send articles or photos to Dr Mark (The BPC

(13) Visit patients undergoing rehabilitation and long-term TB treatment at Kuluhun 

Be involves in designing and implementing teaching resources there to reduce the impact of tuberculosis in Timor Leste. Teach for example about how tuberculosis is contracted, ways of avoiding infection and the why treatment takes so long.

(14) Present cases or talks on health matters for the post-round Sunday education.

(15) Accompany staff working with the mobile clinics to the mountains.

The clinic’s next mission is “out-reach-programme” to educate and empower the local people to promote better-being for people in East Timor. It is a vital grass-root programme. Network with other bodies such as Ministry of Health, Mana Lourdes, Peace Corp and other NGO working in the health care field.

(16) Work with sexually transmitted infection treatment and education. 

Work with BPC social worker, Alarico, who provides contact tracing, educational and counselling to young people and sex workers and young people. HIV has the potential to destroy the up and coming generation of Timor Leste young people, its future. 

(17) Think about how to improve the kitchen, laundry and maintenance services.

Kitchen is essential part of this clinic in terms of nutrition and well-being for the in-patients as well as for the staff.

Cleaning and laundry are vital to keep the clinic environment healthy. There will always be some maintenance work to be done, such as fixing dripping taps, repairing termite damage and painting.

Don't be afraid to get your hand dirty.

(18) Provide outpatient consultations and emergency room care if able.

Take time to build up the confidence in Tetum and experiences in tropical medicine. 

Use your time to teach emergency medical care; don't take over. Remember there is more than one way to skin a cat!

(19) Assist with referral of patients

Dili Hospital emergency and outpatient department can be daunting places for most East Timorese. Often having someone who can facilitate a consultation or referral will ensure that the patient receives the appropriate care.

In addition utilisation of resources such as the UN Hospital, ROMAC, visiting specialists and other NGOs is made easier with a volunteer being an advocate for the patient

(20) Maintain patience and goodwill to those who use our service and work at BPC.

If you see something that is not being done at BPC as efficiently as you would like talk with Dr Dan or Celeste first. Sometimes there may be a good reason, sometimes we may just need some help to improve things. Remember diplomacy and education; yelling at people gets you no respect.

(21) Have initiative and creativity.

Taking the initiative is crucial to making advances in health care in Timor Leste . Pick up a project to focus on. Be creative and experiment, rather than sitting around and waiting for someone to tell you what to do next.

Dr Dan Murphy & Mark Raines

Z

Finally, if there is anything that has been missed, or is incorrect, please let Mark know, so that the information can be kept relevant and up to date.

Check out the East Timor Links page and the Contact Page on this site.

Originally written by Vicki Beaumont, Jon Hong, Jim Hudson and Mark Raines with various contributors. 


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