Lumina 9 - Timor Leste Trip
On 29 April, an excited group of eight Year 9 girls and the tour leader, Matt Conolan, Mr Gooley, his wife, Geraldine and their daughter, Amy, met at Hobart airport for the Lumina 9 Timor Leste trip. Despite poor connections, we arrived in Dili the following morning and spent the day touring the city and learning about Timor Leste’s tragic but inspiring fight for independence.
The following day, we took a ferry to Atauro Island where we would spend the next six days. We were very fortunate to see a large pod of pilot whales and dolphins on our way across.
On Atauro, we made some wonderful connections at the SOLS English School for young adults and at the local government school. We taught English, played games, spoke about our different lives in Australia and helped with daily chores like cooking, collecting water and gathering firewood.
We stayed at Barry’s Place, a lovely, simple place run by an Australian and his Timorese wife. They have five year old twin boys, Mickey and Mardy, who we played with a lot, too. The place is right on the beach, so we could swim any time we had free time and we also got outriggers out to the coral reef to go snorkeling. It was a brilliant place to stay.
Atauro is a very beautiful island but most of the community is very poor. It was a shock to see the condition of the houses, schools and road. The island has had no electricity for 20 months because its generator is broken (fortunately, we had solar power at Barry’s Place). It made us realise how much we take for granted in Australia.
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