35% of Timorese households still have no access to the power grid. In 2015/16 a comprehensive 2-year program by ATA installed 607 household solar systems in 12 villages in the districts of Aileau, Viqueque & Baucau. The program included community liaison, local training for installation, maintenance & repair, and ongoing maintenance funding.
The Alternative Technology Association (ATA) is a not-for-profit organisation that enables, represents & inspires people to live sustainably in their homes & communities.
Since 2003 the ATA, has been working with East Timorese communities to provide clean, renewable lighting & electricity. They’ve helped install solar lighting & power to more than 1,200 homes, community centres, orphanages, schools & hospitals in remote rural villages.
Solar powered lighting gives villagers increased connectivity (they can charge their mobile phones via the USB port) & more productive time in the evenings to work or study. People feel protected from spirits that are about after nightfall, & particularly increases the safety of women. The program also gave each household a USB-rechargeable torch on a wristband.
Through ATA, you could give the gift of light to families in East Timor by buying a solar panel for an East Timorese family for just $50 or a whole solar system for $300.
Buy online at: shop.ata.org.au/gift-of-light or phone ATA on (03) 9639 1500, Mon-Fri 10am-4pm.
The Packing Crew often donate solar shed lights purchased from a well-known hardware store for $12.90.
Using solar power & LED technology, this solar shed light has been designed as a convenient lighting solution for areas where electricity may not be available.
The 1.8m long cables from light to solar panel, allows the light to be installed where needed while the panel is placed in direct sunlight to charge. 10 x white SMD LEDs – 40 lumens
C33 is packed & ready to ship. The Crew hopes to wave it goodbye soon, & welcome C34 to Kent St where we have lots of great donated goods waiting to be loaded. There’s no shortage of ‘stuff’ in our society!
Our first day packing for ’17 – & what a great way to begin with help from Kalamunda Rotaract (now the ‘K Team’) – all of whom visited TL as school leavers & now have a very clear idea of the many needs communities there.
The Packing Crew split up – some at a Drop-In Centre in Vic Park that’s closing & others at the Kent St site. It worked a treat! Marg & John supervised packing at the Centre while Phil & Dave ferried furniture to Kent St where Marg, Marielle & Joan supervised – & John, Frank & Fernando packed C33.
The Rotaract folk divided themselves between the two locations & were a tremendous help to the Crew.
Thanks so much to you all – you were brilliant. We’ve never packed so much in one day before.
The K Team quickly unloaded the 40ft working container, making space for shelving units from the Centre that now hold boxes of packed & labelled donations. Eventually these will all go to TL – but for now, the immense jumble of stuff is super organised & stored.
And, just to top off an already excellent day, Kalamunda Rotaract made a substantial donation to C33’s freight funds from a fundraising venture on their inauguration night. Thanks bundles to you all! When it’s to be shipped you can all come back & wave it goodbye!
Marya, from the Centre, also wanted to add her thanks & appreciation of the K Team’s efforts. We look forward to seeing you all back another day!
Thanks to the Centre for crockery, cutlery, pots, pans, shelves & so much more. It will all make a difference in TL & be put to very good use.
SEEDS OF LIFE: What follows is a heart warming story of hands on, lateral thinking, making a huge difference to real people – & although it makes this a longer blog than usual – it’s worth the read! (or listen online)
An Australian agricultural aid worker motivated to assist East Timorese people has helped farmers double crop yields & find useful time saving devices.
Australian, Samuel Bacon, is seeking to make a difference to some of the world’s poorest families.
Samuel worked with farmers in East Timor on a project that just kept evolving—helping them improve their grain storage & the processes behind the farm.
Australia will spend more than $200 million on overseas agricultural aid this year. The projects aim to improve crop varieties, & farming techniques, develop better feed for livestock & help farmers market their produce.
Aid workers like Samuel Bacon say they find the work fulfilling, because the results can be dramatic. Mr Bacon came to East Timor to work with farming families.
His journey led to doubling corn production, which started when he accidentally ‘fried’ the electricity in a Timorese home in Los Palos, trying to screen a film.
“The community wanted to see it, so the next day I bought electrical gear & rewired his house,” Mr Bacon said. “In a break, I was talking to his wife over a cup of coffee & I asked ‘what are your needs & struggles'”.
The answer was ‘airtight storage’, because almost all the corn they could grow became infested with pests. They had small drums from a previous Australian Seeds of Life aid program, but it wasn’t enough. “They could produce 1.5 tonnes on their 1.5 hectares of land, the rest was eaten by rats & weevils,” Mr Bacon said.
“We started to need a bigger idea for corn storage, so we looked at tanks being produced locally & how we could modify them with a seal to be air-tight, to suffocate the weevils inside.”
A Chinese proverb says “Give a man a fish, & you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish & you feed him for a lifetime”.
Mr Bacon’s motivations are in that vein. He wanted the farmers to invest in grain storage, not be given handouts. So for the sizeable $600 – $700 loan, we entered a business arrangement.
“And for me to assist him, I really wanted to understand his production – his input & labour costs, & how we could help him get better yields & reduce his labour”.
“So we started, made up a diary, & I said ‘every time you walk into that field, I want you to write down what you do, how many people were working that day, the costs, buying some food for the farmers, or if you’ve killed a chicken or two to feed them, buying rice or corn’.'”
The result showed the biggest labour effort was in shelling (shucking) the corncobs.
With 50-60 people needed to shell (shuck) 25 tonnes, it took many days & required goats to feed everyone. “It was a massive job, difficult for the women & some people were freeloading & you’d have to feed them as well.
“I remembered seeing this machine as a kid at country shows in NSW, where you put a corn cob in & wound the kernels off. Looking on the Internet, I found they were still available in China.”
The project imported thousands of the devices. The hand-wound shelling device, will shell the corn at least four times as fast, without the split thumbs.
Mr Bacon started working with the Australian aid program Seeds of Life, which developed new high yielding crops, & brought the Las Palos farmers into that program. The program wrapped up in 2016.
When asked what poverty meant in countries like East Timor, Mr Bacon said “It’s a whole lot of pressures from a lot of different directions. It’s farming, social, it’s health – even your inability to understand things because as a child you didn’t get enough nutrition”.
“As a modern world we need to be careful we’re not dumping our modernity onto them, onto people who are often happy living a simple life. So we have to be careful to help them move into a future that is comfortable. They just want to be happy.”
(Sarina Locke (ABC Rural Journalist) travelled with the not for profit Crawford Fund, as a recipient of the Food Security Journalism Award.)
Between the logistics of container deliveries around Timor, Peter as always, has been busy – establishing a permanent home base for himself & Ima.
With the land cleared, stone walls were built along the boundaries – TL style.
A water well & a septic tank were dug – Aussie style this time, as Peter wasn’t keen to dig out bodies after unsupported sides had collapsed – & had many comments made about ‘this isn’t how we do it here’.
Until finally the block began to take shape with the essentials in place.
With their lease soon due for renewal, the pressure was on to create a dwelling – rapidly – so what better to use than sea containers. Remember Peter’s work on C26 creating Canossa Kindy Library & Admin Office?
Meanwhile, the road to the block had deteriorated significantly…
& sometimes a muddy back track through the hills became the only way into town.
Quite a hazard to negotiate with containers perched TL style on trucks! Then tipped! Worksafe…..!
Finally C3 arrived to complete the house & as the basics were built some nice finishing touches could be added outdoors… like gardens & a pizza oven.
Then the pizza oven was built under Peter’s instruction – with many questions – was it a tank?
Meanwhile, Peter’s new canine friend Nikki welcomes everyone enthusiastically.
Sending many excellent New Year wishes to all the Friends & Supporters of ‘Containers for Timor’.
May 2017 treat you all most kindly & enlist your valued support for Timor for another year.
With the Google Drive gremlins defeated, the following pics from Triloka Medical & Maternity Clinics show how well utilised are the donated goods from Timor Containers. At the clinic the lab is able to do 4 tests – a malaria screen, tuberculosis sputum test, urine pregnancy test & urine “dip stick” for infection. This array of tests as opposed to the hundreds we can order from Australian pathology is a reflection of life in East Timor.
Demand for health care services is high throughout Timor-Leste. Yet the government has limited resources, especially for medical services in rural areas. Fundação Lafaek Diak realised that the establishment of community based health care was an area of need in rural areas. With this in mind Fundação Lafaek Diak established in Triloka village, District of Baucau, a community Health Clinic in the year 2006. Its operation began on February 28, 2007 after signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Health.
This clinic provides community-based-health care, training local community health workers, health education in the community to increase the capacity of the villagers to live their lives in a more healthy way. In 2009 Fundação Lafaek Diak received full accreditation by the Ministry of Health of Timor-Leste for Triloka clinic and its mobile clinic services.
Peter recently spoke about the project to the Rotary Club of Dili and also to the Margaret River Leavers Group who have been working on Atauro Island.
Fernando, one of our valued Packing Crew & wife Sonia, also had a speaking engagement at the newly formed Rotoract Club of Kalamunda to share information about the project & life in Timor. Thanks to you both. The Crew look forward to site visits & even helping hands in the New Year from the younger generation.
Many thanks this week to heaps of people who’ve donated so much wonderful stuff for us to pack & filled the working container again – Andrew from ASB marketing: sports shirts, RC Melville: sports shirts & a generous donation, Mimma: clothing, Margaret: teacher/classroom resources, Lori: office files, teacher resources, Iona: school stationery, Christian Centre: linen, bedding, Como PS: 25 double desks & chairs, library books, Helen from Kalgoorlie: English & Maths text books for Fr. Tomas’ school. All great things we’ll pack in the New Year. Thank you.
The Crew held a BBQ to wind up a busy year & enjoyed an easy day at the Kent St site. Peter called from Dili to extend best wishes to all for Christmas & for a great New Year from he & Ima.
The Packing Crew will be back at work in January. Anyone wishing to lend a hand is always welcome. Please join us.
Sorry for taking a while to distribute the presents donated. Last Saturday we had our Christmas celebration and distributed the presents to the kids that attend Projeto Esperança. Kids from 5 – 12 come to us twice a week after school. They sing, play, do crafts. Thanks for helping us with the presents.
Attached are some photos of last Saturday.
God bless you. Christmas after all is celebrating God with us!
It’s busy in Timor just now with lots of young Aussie visitors – school leavers from Margaret River SHS who are working on projects like playgrounds on Atauro Island – & more leavers from Kalamunda SHS who have travelled to Hauba, near the east coast, to plant trees & build fences. Peter assembled the equipment & willing helpers loaded it into the truck. These projects are literally life changing for the young people involved. For most, it’s their first time in Timor & their first experience in confronting real need. It’s great to see.
‘Pats on the back’ especially, go to Josh who first visited Timor last year as a Kalamunda Leaver, returned to work with Peter this year, & is back again with the new Leavers.
Josh is also part of the new Rotoract Club Kalamunda. Their Charter Dinner is next Thursday & special guests are Fernando & Sonia from the Packing Crew who will speak a little about Timor & answer questions. Fundraising that night will support Containers for Timor. Thanks to you all.
Abilio is a former ROMAC patient (& Ima’s nephew) who had Rotary sponsored heart surgery in Perth, 2012, to repair holes in his heart. His ‘thumbs up’ is for the new clothes he’s wearing from Oz – thanks to PLC.
ROMAC… provide specialist treatment for children, from developing countries, in the form of life saving and/or dignity restoring surgery not accessible to them in their home country. https://www.romac.org.au/about-romac/what-we-do/
After 6 years of packing all sorts of donations including over 14,000 school desks & chairs, we still haven’t furnished all the schools in Timor…
…but here are pics of Atauro Primary School where desks & chairs from Poynter & St Pauls Primary Schools in Perth have just been delivered – along with whiteboards & stationery.
We’re often asked, what do schools need? Many of them, like Atauro, still need everything – including volunteer teachers, if anyone wants a worthwhile holiday in Timor. Apart from furniture, they also need consumables like paper, pencils & sharpeners, exercise books, sports equipment, science equipment, musical instruments & computers – just for starters.
Please dig deep, as many of our ‘Friends’ already do, & put together a box of useful ‘back to school’ stuff for a class. The Packing Crew often add a surprise item to a box – like a solar powered shed light or even solar powered fairy lights – & enjoy contemplating the smiles they will bring.
Very frustratingly, Google Drive has thwarted all attempts to allow us access to pics sent from Triloka Clinic & Maternity Clinic – but we can still share their note of thanks to Peter.
A Blessed Day
Through this email I would to thank you for your kind hearted and generous donations of medical equipment such as examination beds, cane, wheelchairs etc.
Your help meant a lot to us and those equipment we distributed it to those in need and some we use it in Triloka Clinic and Maternity Clinic.
For further information you may see it in pictures attached.
Please find attached of pictures from Triloka Clinic
Thank you very much – Julieta
Palms Australia & Unity Australia also support the Triloka Clinic & Maternity Clinic – www.palms.org.au
Healthcare provision in Timor is one of the biggest challenges. Only 30 percent of deliveries are assisted by a health professional, with only 22 percent of all deliveries done at health facilities. Reducing maternal and neonatal mortality rates is reliant on a high prevalence of births being attended by health professionals.
Maternal mortality rates: Timor Leste – 215 women per 100,000 births Australia – 6.8 women per 100,000 births (AIHW)
The Packing Crew’s last day this year will be December 17 when they’ll enjoy catching up at a BBQ on site at Kent St from 10am. They will resume packing on January 7, 2017 & will welcome new hands & cool weather. Last Saturday, the metal roof of C33 reached 55 degrees, but only 38 degrees where the guys were packing – & it was warm outside too – so cooler Saturdays are on order, please!
Recently, the 2/2 Commando Association of Australia acknowledged the worth of the Containers for Timor Project with a very generous grant that will fund most of the purchase and freight costs for C34 next year.
The Packing Crew who do the actual hard yards, with the Rotary Club of Hillarys & the Friends of Timor Containers, extend their heartfelt thanks to the 2/2 Commando Association not only for the grant to continue sending humanitarian aid to Timor Leste, but for the honour they have bestowed on us in their recognition of the Project, as the 2/2 are held in high esteem.
We also acknowledge the initiative & continuing work of Peter Snell, & the Rotary Club of Bentley Curtin whose efforts from 2010 to 2016 laid the Project foundations on which we continue to build.
Thank you most sincerely to 2/2 Commando Association of Australia.
The following excerpt is taken from: https://doublereds.org.au/
The No. 2 Australian Independent Company: (2/2 Commando Squadron)
…one of the most amazing units ever formed by the Australian army. Its contribution to winning the Second World War is indeed great…
The 2/2 men are Australia’s first commandos. They were among the first Australian soldiers to be trained in guerilla warfare, and the first to successfully practice it.
When faced with Japan’s lightning thrust through Asia in early 1942, the 270 men of this company became the only unit in the entire army to remain an integrated force and continue offensive action while all around them, 22,000 Australians were captured or killed.
The company fought the Japanese to a standstill in the colony of Portuguese Timor months before Australia’s main force in New Guinea successfully halted Japan’s drive on the Kokoda Track. When news came back to Australia, and around the world, that the 2/2 men were still fighting, their campaign proved to be a huge morale boost during the nation’s darkest hour.
But the company’s contribution was much more than morale. It played a crucial role in turning back the Japanese by tying up several thousand seasoned troops in the mountains of Timor while the battle for Kokoda was hanging in the balance. For ten long months they continued fighting on Timor, pulling off scores of successful ambushes that kept the enemy running around in circles.
Australia’s Oscar-winning filmmaker Damien Parer, who spent 16 days with these forces in November 1942, said the men of the 2/2nd Company were something special.
“These men of Timor are unique in that they remained an organised fighting body all through the lightning Jap successes… These lads are writing an epic of guerrilla warfare,” he said.
After their epic campaign on Timor, the 2/2 was deployed to New Guinea where it took part in Australia’s campaign to drive the Japanese out of New Guinea and New Britain. A total of 610 men served in the Company, and of these 51 were killed during the war. ____________________________________________
Despite the many extraordinary facets to this epic in guerrilla warfare it appears as a minor footnote in most histories of the Second World War, overshadowed by the New Guinea and Pacific campaigns. Indeed, Australia’s official history of the Second World War includes most of the Timor campaign as an appendix. Few people today are even aware that Australian forces fought in Portuguese Timor, and that as many as 40,000 – 60,000 Timorese died as a result of this conflict, far exceeding the losses of any other nation that supported Australians in war. – Paul Cleary
The 2/2 Commando Association held their annual Commemoration Ceremony on November 20 at the 2/2 Memorial on Lovekin Drive, Kings Park. Several of the Friends were pleased to accept an invitation to attend, meet members & learn more of the 2/2 in Timor, the Timorese Criados & the ‘Debt of Honour’. Wreaths were laid while a lament was piped, the names of the fallen were read, the address was given by the son of one of the 2/2, and a bugler sounded The Last Post & Rouse.
Author: Archie Campbell Publisher: Swanbourne, John Burridge Year Published: 1995 Edition: first edition – hard cover in dust jacket ISBN: 0646258257
Sometimes the planets align – what we are offered for Timor is exactly what Timor needs – as happened a while back with some secondary text books. Few schools there teach English & can use our textbooks, but we got lucky with Fr. Tomas in Baucau District, who asked Peter for exactly what John Paul College, Kalgoorlie was offering. Changes to the Aus. curriculum meant these excellent books can no longer be used here.
Good evening Mr. Peter.
How are you? I am Fr. Tomas de Carvalho, SDB. I would like to thank you for your meaningful help. Especially provide us books which can help our both students and teachers for process of learning. Everyday together with the students, we are praying for your health and intentions.
Fr. Tomas de Carvalho, SDB
Sister Mary Lu will be delighted with this truck load of linen & clothes for the orphanage in Hera. Toys & chairs have been sent to the Disabled Children’s Toy Library in Hera as well.
These chairs from Poynter & St Paul’s Primary Schools are now in Primary Schools on Atauro Island off the coast from Dili.
Sister Memo from Malianna collected supplies from Peter for her school – & large quantities of goods were distributed to 2 Disability Groups & the Leprosy Mission as well as schools at Letefoho & Atabae.
The Timor Scouting Association is growing rapidly & have asked Peter for items like tents & camping equipment to promote & support this developing interest. What about cleaning out your garage / shed to see what you can find to help?
There’s also a swimming training group starting in January – and they need all the gear too like swimmers, kick boards, goggles, fins, noodles etc. – so get on & do it!
Country folk here often grumble about road conditions & are quick to get their local shire onto repairs. The road here leads out to Peter’s block making him wonder for how much longer he can use it.
But finally repairs have begun!
Weak phone/internet signals are also a problem Peter is trying to resolve with a booster. If anyone has ideas that can help – please let him know.
Here, Telstra can supply 2 boxes that boost signals to homes in country areas. Do they work in Timor too?
Meanwhile, after a little confusion, C32 made it to Peter’s yard for unloading. The President’s Secretary came to help & was very impressed by the quality & quantity of aid sent. She, in turn supports groups on Atauro Island so is keen to continue working with this Project. The Packing Crew here are quite selective & insist on all items being sound, clean & appropriate for Timor. Already about 1/3 of the aid has been collected from C32. Thanks, Peter!
The Halecuo Orphanage has been one of our main groups to support & we have sent several truckloads of supplies to them. The Priest running the centre has a brother in DILI Police Force who organises & supervises the trucks to load & deliver to Halecuo.
As with many remote communities & centres, we are the only project to support them due to delivery problems. Now, with our warehouse in DILI, we can hold supplies until the groups can get transport & have road access. This is often difficult at short notice due to very poor country road conditions. It would be great to have more partnerships to build on the support for communities like Halecuo.
Lilia is very kindly taking orders for Rotary Christmas Cakes, Puddings & Panforte to raise more freight funds. They are all delicious – esp. the Chocolate Panforte – & are super priced.
Fruit Cakes, Puddings & Cherry Sultana Cakes – large or small – $16ea & $9ea. Panforte – Choc or Traditional – $13ea.
Please buy them in boxes of 12 & 24 – eg 1 box Panforte $156. They keep really well – if you don’t eat them!
Please contact Lilia or Marg or Joan for ordering details – or use the TC contact page here & we’ll put you in touch.
The Packing Crew are going to PARTY on their last Saturday for this year – December 17 from 10:30am onwards.
Please come & join us for a BBQ – it’s BYO everything as ALL our funds go to the project. Please share your salad & bring your favourite BBQ meats & drinks.
Christmas hats & baubles are compulsory!
FA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♫♪♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♫♪♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♫♪♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♫♪
Nov 10 saw C32 arrive in Dili – making the Packing Crew at Kent St think back to the 23 tonnes of great things they squeezed into it, & wonder where they’ll go & what difference they’ll make to people in TL.
Meanwhile, lots more has happened for the project here.
3 big hearted guys from RC Marg River – Lloyd, Rob & Rod packed a car float with 100 school desks & 100 chairs & set out at 6am one recent Saturday morning for Kent St. The Packing Crew were super impressed with their efforts & quickly helped them untie their load. It was really hot that day
& the Crew melted steadily inside C33. Thanks guys for a great effort – John’s C & G, Fernando, Santos, Geoff, Dave, Rob & of course the RCMR – & thanks to the gals – the Margs & Marielle, Joan & Letty who also melted outside as they sorted & packed that day.
Thanks as well to Maureen from Margs, who sent these beautiful quilts along with the guys – they are really something special!
The Packing Crew are constantly surprised & delighted by the generosity & thoughtfulness of the many people who help this project.
This includes Toni who delivered medical instruments that will help one of the small outlying rural clinics, & Graeme who cleaned out his shed bringing all sorts of hand tools, garden tools, handyman bits & pieces, Christmas decorations & household goods. Mimma & Emma arrived again with more teaching items, Tom & Scruff were back with many useful things including little kids chairs, Letty & Geoff emptied their garage for us, Frank & Rosa also cleaned out at home & brought more of Sally’s hand knitted rugs, Lilia brought bags of clothes her Mum had packed, & Sonia too.
The Friends were able to hand Joan a large cheque for RC Hillarys, to help cover freight costs of C32.
RC Belmont through Teresa, are helping raise more funds from Nov 6 to Dec 4 at Belmont Markets as a few RC Hillarys & Friends of TC attend each Sunday morning from 6am to 10am collecting entry monies & stall holder fees. Thanks to John, Marg, Joan, Rob, Marielle & the Johnston family five for attending so far.
Please – if anyone else can help one Sunday you’d be so welcome – & there’s great stuff to buy there as well! Please call Joan or Marg if you can come.
One World Uniforms sent a courier truck during the week for Phil, Marg & John G to unload. Thanks Paul for all the office desks, filing cabinets, bookcases, office chairs, whiteboards & 2 huge pallets of boxes of beautiful new school uniforms. Fantastic clothes for Timor kids.
More bikes arrived from Joondalup Mens Shed – and while these were in great shape & flat packed with pedals removed, we don’t need any more bikes for C33 – we have at least 50 to send & we’re still figuring out the best way to pack them all. It’s just as well the Crew enjoy a challenge!
The truckie was a great young guy from ‘Desired Trucks’ who didn’t mind the challenge at all – part of our plan to improve our work site at Kent St. Thanks!
Phil, John & Jamie tech-screwed the large ‘Containers for Timor’ sign high on the end of the working container, so now it can be seen what this project is really about – every day. It needs a bit more sign writing to add ‘RC Hillarys’ etc – but that will come.
C33 seemed to inspire everyone. Marg, Joan & Marielle sorted & packed donations while Marg, Dave, Rob, John, Santos & Fernando moved bags & boxes out of the working container at last. It was great to get the project moving again.
Brian & Mick arrived from Mandurah keen to meet the Packing Crew & view C33 – because it has a special future. Brian has bought C33 for the project & when packed is sending it on to Dili for us where it will become a workshop for a welding school. A huge thank you to Brian – your gesture is greatly appreciated. The metal tool cupboards in C32 will be very handy.
Apart from the Crew, Brian was delighted to meet Santos, a Timorese student, & Fernando, a Timorese draftsman – as this liaison could prove useful in the months to come. Brian has some interesting & practical plans in mind to assist in Timor that will be related as time goes by.
This week will see the first delivery of school desks & chairs, office furniture & new school uniforms to pack into C33. People’s generosity & thoughtfulness is inspiring.
Phil removed some of the rubble from the C32 site, & more will go next week to help the school stay tidy. Thanks, Kent St SHS.