Our last day in Timor Leste
It seemed fitting that on our last day in Timor Leste we would have time to take part in the local rally celebrating International Women’s Day. Many of our partners were there as well as people we had already met and other leading officials in the community, including Ms Maria Paixoa de Costa, the Vice President of the Parliament, Ms Ameerah Haq the head of the UN for Timor Leste and Ms Kristy Swann Gusmao, the wife of the Prime Minister who also heads up her Aloha Foundation. The speeches given spoke of the continued struggles ahead and need for education of all youth in the country and need for more in the way of gender equality. It felt like we had a much broader insight into what this new country is all about, thus it was fitting that this event was on our last day and not our first.
We have planned our debriefing meetings to be in Bali over the next 2 days as we start our large task of reviewing and reflecting on much of what we have learned here in the past 2 weeks. We can then begin our new role in bringing this information back to Canada so we can raise these issues and help the people of Timor Leste by getting their country back on our international agenda as Canadians.
We have noticed the amazing number of other countries here but outside of our involvement as the Canadian Catholic Organization of Development and Peace, we met no other Canadians except for a few working for other governments and other nation’s NGOs. There was an absolute zero Canadian Government presence here now as the rest of the world community of international governments continues to work to help this new country get back on its feet.