Ba Distrito - Day 1

Today was my first day at Ba Distrito. I am so excited for what this summer has in store. The office is a quick five minute walk from where I’m staying, so getting there is easy enough. I misunderstood the time I was supposed to get there and was an hour early this morning. That worked out nicely, though because I the janitorial staff let me in, and I had the Wifi password. I need to purchase a USB modem thing to have internet access at the church, so I used the hour to catch up on emails and reassure friends and family that I was still alive. 

I am going to be analyzing data gleaned from meetings in several districts over the past several months. Transcripts of the meetings are being typed up by the Ministry of Justice now, and then they will be translated to English. My supervisors estimate I should have it by Monday. Until then, I get to spend the week familiarizing myself with the country and the organization. (Yes, I said “get to.”) I was given several reports to read through today, and this week I will be attending judiciary training sessions. (As a matter of fact, yes, I am excited to read reports and attend trainings. I am a nerd, and I love it!) I attended a sort of panel discussion this morning. The simultaneous translation into English made it a little difficult to follow, but over 100 people were there, including Timorese law students, listening to an MP, the Minister of Justice, and others talk about the importance of judicial independence. Tomorrow and Wednesday Ba Distrito is conducting some training. Fortunately for me, the presenter is American and will have a translator – making it far more likely that I’ll understand what is going on. Carolyn Tanner, the head of the office, will be going to one of the villages further inland on Thursday, and I’ve been invited to join (YAY!). Basically, this week is research and field trips. I can’t wait! I will try to remember my camera this time.

Oh! Update on accommodations. Yesterday I met the Australian whose room I will be moving into next week. Somehow he had been under the impression that I was going to be a guy, whom he figured he’d let put up with the less fancy facilities for a week. Upon learning that I am a girl, he insisted that I simply knock on his door if I need to use the restroom so that I don’t have to use the facilities outside. And he has an actual toilet! He also has a “shower”!! The water pressure isn’t good enough to actually warrant calling it that. It’s actually easier to just fill the little bucket. However, it has hot water!! In the morning, Alec will let me in, then leave the room to give me privacy. Telling my excitement to Americans I chat with, they seem to just raise eyebrows, but a nice bed, air conditioning, an actual toilet, and hot water in a developing country?! Haha… I expected not to have at least one of those :)

 As far as housemates, I’ve figured out that there are 7 or 8 university (or university age) kids here, plus the pastor’s wife (pastor is in Indonesia right now) and the four year old grandson. The college age kids help out around the house and the church. Only one speaks English really well. He actually translated the sermon for me at church yesterday. It was interesting talking to him about the country though. I’m getting a more local view of how the government works and how Timorese view the system.

Ok, I’ve talked long enough. Have a good week!