April 2003 -- February
2004 -- Manatuto,
There're really too many to capture, but I'll give a sample
below of the many inside jokes and lines repeated often within
the shared, intimate world of the nine remaining volunteers
here, some of which will have humor for people not privy to
our little circle.
"I think that woman over there likes you... and she's
not deaf," anyone to Cudjoe.
"We are in Mickey Mouse Land!" Dr Jack helping us
make sense of the nonsensical bureaucratic world created by the Peace Corps (not at all specific to the country we are in).
"You're relatives are coming here to visit, not to get
airlifted," one PCMO's response to whether visiting relatives
should buy evacuation insurance.
"I learned that the loose way," Chuck relating how
he verified the local saying that eating too many mangoes gives
a person diarrhea.
"I don't understand how you have a cell phone, but you
have to crap in a hole," Mary Michael to her sister, Teresa.
"This guy brought a lot of stuff..." "and a
kitchen sink too," Teresa and Michael talking about the
new Brazilian missionary moving into Michael's house.
"Why are you whispering, I'm right here," Waiting
Living in Asia, but feeling guilty about not going to church
(East Timor is one of only two Catholic countries in Asia).
Looking for the top to my quisinart mini-food prep in the middle
of Manatuto, East Timor.
Learning how to use a cell phone for the first time ever, on
a deserted beach in Manatuto, East Timor.
Using a thousand dollar computer to view pictures taken with
a seven hundred dollar camera, while sitting on a ten dollar
bed. The pictures usually of people dressed in one dollar clothing.
Sitting on the beach for an hour every day for the off chance
that someone official wants to call me on my cell phone.
Sitting next to a brand new computer and printer, but listening
to a type-writer because there is no power (Mark)
Talking about starting a cultural center in the middle of town
while there are still people crapping on the beach because they
have no better place to go.
Spending $6,000,000 to irrigate rice fields in the desert lands
of Manatuto, while just 3 hours over the hill, rain falls all-year-long.
Meanwhile, thousands of children within the district have no
drinking water or santina.
Drinking water imported from Indonesia at a training session
for the water filter "factory" in Manatuto.
Buying and eating sardines from a can imported from Indonesia
while living on the beach where boats unload sardines every
morning, noon, and night.
Sharing a house with a Brazilian missionary in East Timor.
Becoming Manatuto's resident cellphone expert (people come
to me all the time to "fix" their phones, which luckily
they've simply disabled by changing a setting or line number).