Ba Distrito - Week 3


Work Stuff

I have data! Admittedly not much data, but I do have data!!  I have received my first transcript to go over. I have read through it several times, found information on analyzing and reporting qualitative data, and figured out new things in Excel. Now I impatiently await more data.

The transcript itself was interesting. I had heard before coming that East Timor had a domestic violence problem, and I knew that was one of the things the Ministry of Justice is trying to correct. It was just rather saddening to read comments by people who hadn’t fully grasped that it was wrong. I talked to Tony (a Timorese co-worker on the communication team) about it. He said part of it is steeped in their traditions and seeing wives as something that has been paid for. Before marrying, the families of the couple get together and determine how many animals or how much money will be given to the bride’s family – sort of like a reverse dowry, I suppose. But it can reinforce this idea of women as property. In the reports I’ve been reading, the general attitude about domestic violence has gotten better. More people see it as a crime rather than a way of “teaching” the wife and children, and there were certainly those in the transcript who understood that. However, the people on the other side of the argument were making me sad.

Next week I’ll be Skyping with the person who designed the research I’m working on and will be meeting with people in the Ministry of Justice. Carolyn wants to introduce me as the person who has the best understanding of the work and the one they can come to with questions or concerns. Once I have a bit more data, I’ll be putting together a training for members of the Ministry to learn how to do this sort of analysis themselves both with this research and with future research projects.


Last week I attended Victory Family Center, an English-speaking church pastored by an Australian. The church is mainly ex-pats. The church began when the UN was still a major presence here. They officially moved out of Timor a few years ago, so the church has gotten smaller. It was still at least 200 people, though. There are still tons of NGOs operating in Dili.

I was given a textbook on how to learn Tetun, and Pastor Warren introduced me to the church, telling them that I wanted to explore as much as I could, so if anyone was going somewhere and had an extra seat, to think of me. Several people came up to get my information after service! A group goes to Timor Plaza (the mall) to eat after service, so I joined for that. At first, it looked like I was going to get a ride on someone’s motorcycle, but she wasn’t feeling well. We rode in someone else’s car, but I have a new goal while I’m here. I’ve never been on a motorcycle before.

On Monday night, I was invited to play badminton with several people. I have not played since P.E. in high school, but I had a lot of fun. They go every Monday, so I think that will be a regular activity.


On Tuesday I was invited to dinner at a couple’s house. Carol is from Houston; Jeremiah is from Malaysia; and they have an adorable one year old. They had me for dinner, and Carol took me to lunch the next day and I was back over on Friday night when they were having several people over. They picked me up early so that I could watch the sunset over the ocean from their porch.


I was going to go to a Bible study next door that is on Wednesdays  and led by the head of World Vision for East Timor, but I wound up getting sick that day (Just a cold, Mom. I’m ok) and just slept when I got home.

Saturday, Carolyn invited me to join her and her family for a three-year-old’s birthday party on the beach. It was gorgeous. And it turned out the party was for one of the families from church that I’d met and who had been at lunch on Sunday, so I didn’t feel super awkward about being there. The day was actually a little interesting because it was the first time that a cruise ship was going to be docking in East Timor, and all of Dili was abuzz about the 2000 tourists coming to town. Brooke (an Australian co-worker who is also in communications) was there as well with her girls and said that the ship had made the beach rather crowded. That observation entertained me because I have never seen a beach that sparsely populated before. There were only several dozen people in the water, and though the restaurants were full, they weren’t overflowing.

Beach 2

I think beach Saturdays might become a my new pastime. The water was perfect and clear and calm. I’ve also missed being around kids. I worked in the children’s ministries at my church for years. I showed one of the little girls that little animals live in tiny shells on the beach, and next thing I knew, was being dragged all over the shore looking for shells that were moving. She was very excited.

Next Saturday, I hope to go to the Resistance Museum, if it’s open. That may change if I get a call from someone, though. Several families told me about things they’ll do some weekends and said they’d bring me along.

I’m having a lot of fun and (because I’m a nerd) am really excited to (hopefully) be getting the rest of my data next week :)