Sunday marks a week since most of the group left home for Timor Leste. A fitting day then for us to break off a bit earlier from meetings by 4pm so we could get in some R&R.
But first we all looked forward to celebrating mass in Dili and just our luck there is an English mass here at 10:30 . It was a pretty mixed congregation as many folks from different lands were present. A packed house (actually they spilled out into
the parking lot) and Fr Rolf helped celebrate mass with eight of our delegation also participating by bringing up the offertory. And even though we have been here only a short while, we bumped into people we had met already. It was another reminder of how important a role the church plays in peoples lives as the saying goes here that there are only 3 events when Timorese people really get together in their finest clothing besides Sunday, Marriage, Baptism and Funerals. And again all in the church.
Our afternoon session was with the Justice and Peace Commission - Dili Diocese, which is one of our partners. Our new friend Nue who also housed us yesterday, is the project Coordinator who heads up the Human Rights Desk project. This helps to monitor human rights violations and encourages people to come forward in each of the parishes by working closely within them. This afternoon we met with people
who are part of another project, the youth outreach project coordinated by Melanie. The amazing success story of this project is that they have managed to bring the youth members together where no other program has managed to so before. They now also regularly meet with the local police to breakdown the barriers which until now have seemed impenetrable. They glowed about how they get trained in capacity building skills and learn about the roles they are expected to play in society and what will happen to them if they don’t comply. This is all new here for this generation as there has been little in the ways of laws, legal detention, courts or consequences besides paying with your life.
Then off to see some of the country side just outside of town and find a sandy beach where the waves are calm and the coral is plenty. Our new friends from La’o Hamutuk, Charlie and Jill had volunteered to show us their favorite snorkeling spot and sure enough we had an awesome time enjoying one of the many tourist gems that are available here.
Another great way to finish our day especially as today was pretty sunny considering we are here during the rainy season. Our trip back to town was filled with anticipation for a great meal at the nearby Turkish restaurant where we have befriended the owner Antonio.
It has been a good day and a fitting way to prepare for what looks like will be a very busy week coming up.
PS we are aimimg to be up at 5am to see if we can find a way to watch Canada beat USA in Hockey! Go Team.