First Day in Dili

I have made it to Timor Leste! It was a long trip. I left Tuesday evening from DC, and arrived Saturday afternoon. Of course, that includes an intentional 36 hour detour in Bali and gaining a day with the time difference.

I had a lot of fun in Bali. You can look at the pictures depicting my adventures here. Bali is a developing country, but still working toward development pretty well. I was in a nice hotel with a shower and a pool. Haha… Had I known that was likely the last time I’d have access to my Western understanding of a shower for the rest of the summer, I probably would have appreciated it more.

 I’m living and working in Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste. First, this island is beautiful. I suppose that’s to be expected of a tropical island, but still. It’s so green. My supervisor found housing for me. I am staying at church within walking distance of the office. I am a Christian, and if you recall, I lived with a pastor’s family while in The Hague last summer. So, this works very nicely for me. The pastor hosts missionaries, so there are three fully furnished rooms. They have air conditioning, and are well protected from little biting bugs. Rather than a mosquito net, the rooms have been sealed off. All the windows have either plastic or cloth covering them. It keeps out the bugs and keeps in the AC.  As I type this, I am noticing a gecko on my wall, so it’s not perfect, but I’m less nervous about a gecko giving me malaria or dengue fever, so it’s ok.

My room is the only one of the three without a toilet room (not sure if that’s what to call it… bathroom specifically means the room with the bath, and I need to get out of the habit of using that to mean the room with the toilet while here). One of the missionaries leaves June 1, though, and I get to move into that room once he leaves. Until then, I am using the “squatty potties” on the side of the church. It’s not bad. I’ve done it before. There are 6-8 little rooms on the side of the house. Half are toilets and half are smaller versions of the bathroom I use (described below). There are other people here too – kids and teens. I don’t know if they live here or just spend most of their time here. However, the pastor’s 4 year old grandson is adorable.  He only knows a few phrases in English - Good morning; How are you; and What's that? - and says them to me every time he sees me. And of course as a four year old, the last question is his favorite, especially if I'm on my computer. He can't understand my answer (a picture of my friend, a movie, etc), but he'll keep asking.

 I think the major problem right now is that my host doesn’t speak much English, and I’m not sure what she’s trying to explain to me – or I have questions I’m pretty sure she doesn’t understand. Haha. Last night’s conundrum was the bath. The bathroom is a large tiled room with what I assumed was the bath in the corner. I mean, there was a faucet in it, so… yes? It’s basically a tinier – also tiled - room about three by three feet but like four feet high. There was no way I could climb in, and there is no door. When she showed it to me she said she was sorry it was a Timor bath (I said that wasn’t a problem) and then handed me a small bucket. Confusion ensued, but I couldn’t figure out how to ask what I was supposed to do. Last night I decided to just wash my face and figure the rest out in the morning. Fortuitously, I saw one of the teens heading into one of the little bathrooms on the side of the house and soon heard water been scooped and poured out and saw soapy water coming from under the door. I checked my bathroom and saw there was a drain in the corner. Conclusion: I let the little bath area fill with clean water and use the bucket to scoop it out and wash with. I’m hoping that’s correct because that’s what I did this morning.

 I start work tomorrow, and I am super excited. I have a general rule that I don’t go out by myself after dark, so I’m likely going to be getting up super early to take advantage of sunshine.