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"The whole of the Suai district is affected by hunger. Suai had rain very early so the people planted corn, but without further rain it has all died. Aileu had so much rain that the crops were washed away." Tess Ward, Educator, MMIETS
"The desperate poverty situation, particularly of the children, was brought home to me when I saw a young boy about 8 years old climbing into putrid rubbish to retrieve some tins which he could sell. ... There are few paying jobs for the youth ... immediate, stop-gap measures are necessary to tide people over; [but] the causes of this poverty must be addressed." Joan Westblade, Health Worker, MMIETS

This page up-dated 23 Apr 05


Ed note: These accounts have been added to Back Door's Timor Oil Collection because the receipt of oil and gas revenue enables the Government of Timor-Leste to tackle poverty and hunger. 


Eye Witness Accounts of Poverty & Hunger in East Timor

March 2005

Mary MacKillop Institute of East Timorese Studies (MMIETS)


Authors:

* Joan Westblade LCM
,
Health Worker/Educator and Nurse, MMIETS.
Email: joanw@mmiets.org.au

* Tess Ward OLSH,
Linguist, Educator (based in Dili), MMIETS.
Email: tess@mmiets.org.au


Source:
Ba Ami Nia Belun Sira (The Newsletter for Friends & Benefactors of MMIETS)
Vol. 12 No. 1, March 2005, p2.


For further info contact:
Susan Connelly RSJ,
Spokesperson on Timor oil and gas issues &
Member of Timor Sea Justice Campaign, Sydney
Phone: 02 9623 2847 (Sydney, Australia)
Email: sc@mmiets.org.au


About the Mary MacKillop Institute / Institutu Mary MacKillop:
http://www.pcug.org.au/~wildwood/mmiets.html





Joan Westblade LCM writes from East Timor:
 
"The desperate poverty situation, particularly of the children, was brought home to me at Christmas time when I saw a young boy about 8 years old climbing into putrid rubbish to retrieve some tins which he could sell. Children walk 3 or 4 hours down the mountains from villages carrying heavy loads of fruit and vegetables on bamboo rods across their shoulders. They make this journey in the dark, setting out at 3 or 4 am to arrive in Dili at 6 in time for the markets.  They look so small to be burdened with such responsibility.  One little girl aged nine told me that she was trying to get money for her school fees.
 
There are few paying jobs for the youth and many sit around with nothing to do.  Those without homes squat in anything providing shelter.  These burnt out, dilapidated buildings were once free, but now people have to pay $10 per month for the privilege of squatting, an impossible goal if you have no work.
 
I was deeply moved by the despondency of young families but felt powerless to do anything. Thanks to the generosity of many people I was able to fill the car with rice, tinned fish and noodles and I drove around the streets each day in an effort to provide a Christmas meal for those I knew who had nothing at all. These immediate, stop-gap measures are necessary to tide people over; the causes of this poverty must be addressed."
 




Tess Ward OLSH also reports from East Timor:
 
"The whole of the Suai district is affected by hunger.  Suai had rain very early so the people planted corn, but without further rain it has all died. Aileu had so much rain that the crops were washed away.  ...  Last week (March 11) we bought 30 sacks of rice and 60 cartons of noodles to distribute to familes we meet on our travels."




About MMIETS (the Mary MacKillop Institute for East Timorese Studies)

This info last updated: 12 Aug 2004

MMIETS is a Sydney and Dili based charitable institute established in 1994
by the Religious of St. Joseph (the order of the Blessed Mary MacKillop - Australia's first and only saint officially recognised by the Roman Catholic church) in response to an appeal for help by Bishop Belo (Diocese of Dili) and in consultation with the East Timorese community. It was created to assist in meeting the cultural, educational, health and material needs of the people of East Timor. MMIETS is safeguarding East Timorese culture by promoting the use of the language Tetum within the Church and general education and is developing a Tetum literacy program to this end. 


Director:
Sister Josephine Mitchell, RSJ (Religious of St. Joseph - "Brown Jo's")
email: josem@mmiets.org.au

Spokesperson on oil issues, Deputy Director of MMIETS:
Sister Susan Connelly, RSJ
email:
sc@mmiets.org.au

Reception / Secretarial:
Noreen Nicoara
email:
noreen@mmiets.org.au

Editor and Supervisor of Linguistics (based in Dili):
Father Leão da Costa, Director of Catholic Education, Fundação São Paulo


Linguist, Educator (based in Dili):
Sister Teresa (Tess) A. Ward, FDNSC (Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart)
email: tess@mmiets.org.au

Timorese Tetun language expertise (based in Sydney):
Luisa da Cunha Marques
Filomena de Oliveira

Health worker/educator, nurse:
Sister Joan Westblade, LCM (Little Company of Mary)
email: joanw@mmiets.org.au


MMIETS - Sydney, Australia:
20 Mamre Rd, St Marys
PO Box 299, St Marys NSW 1790
AUSTRALIA
Phone: 02 9623 2847
Fax: 02 9623 1573

Institutu Mary MacKillop - Bekora, Dili Timur, Timor Lorosae:
New larger premises now located in Bekora.
PO Box 427, Dili, East Timor (via Darwin)

Home: http://www.mmiets.org.au
Timor Sea Justice Issues: http://www.mmiets.org.au/projects4.html



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