Officially becoming volunteers
4 July 2003 -- Dili, East Timor
On July 4, 2003, in a ceremony at the U.S. Embassy in Dili,
East Timor, eighteen of us took an oath, becoming official volunteers.
We are now the first group of Peace Corps volunteers to be trained
in and initiate service in East Timor.
Before administering the oath, The U.S. Ambassador spoke a
few words regarding the real possibility that the people of
East Timor could realize a positive future, and that we could
help bring this about. He echoed the tone we have heard many
times from various sources: considering the current state of
governance and economic activity in East Timor, if the leaders
chose wisely, this country could remain a rising democracy with
a satisfactory economy. Alternatively, if the leaders take a
different path, the situation could deteriorate greatly. For
the sensitivity of the current position, the size of the country,
and the openness of the people to suggestions, it is a place
he believes a group of people such as we volunteers can have
a substantial impact. He went on to state that if he could choose
between lots more volunteers or embassy staff, he might accept
a few more people for the embassy, but would rather have lots
more Peace Corps volunteers.
[Web master's question: why then has the Peace Corps delayed
sending the next batch of volunteers, originally scheduled to
arrive in August, and now perhaps coming next February or later?]
The next two years, if we are to believe what the Ambassador
and others have said, will give us all a good indication of
what the future of this country will be.
After the Ambassador spoke and we were all sworn in, two freshly
initiated volunteers spoke a few words of inspiration and thanks.
Will Gudeman spoke in English, and then Teresa Michael spoke
Here is the written version of their speeches:
Address by William Gudeman:
I would like to give respect to Senyor Grover Joseph Rees,
American Ambassador; Senyor Rui de Araujo, Minister of Health;
Dr. Belo, National Representative Habitat for Humanity; Senyor
Diego Hay, Director of Peace Corps East Timor; and to all
new Volunteers and other guests.
So far Peace Corps has been nothing but sad goodbyes. First
to our families and friends in America last April. Then, on
26 June we left our host families in Nauner, Tibar, Laulara,
and Hera, proving to be another sad goodbye. And now, in a
couple of days, we all leave each other to begin our work
in our respective districts. We've all made new friends among
ourselves as well with many Timorese people, including our
training and program staff, and we must say goodbye yet again.
Our oath spoke of upholding the three missions of the Peace
Corps. Mission #2, to learn about other countries and their
culture and people, is a continuing process. Mission #3, to
teach Americans about other countries, is also continuing
via our letters and expensive phone calls home, and via Michael's,
and soon to come, Natalie's web pages.
So many lives are changing, and not just the 18 of us sitting
here today. Our families and friends back home are affected
by us being here. Our new friends here in Timor learn from
us as much as we learn from them. Our wonderful teachers have
taught us as well as learned from us, and I know they take
their funny stories about us home with them to share with
their family and friends.
And so now, go to your districts with peace in your hearts,
not just in your job title. Enjoy these next two years and
always remain present. Training is over, so don't dwell on
it. Don't worry about tomorrow because it hasn't come yet.
You will be more productive in your new communities if you
just live for the moment.
Whenever you feel as if you're about to slip, or that you're
about to fall, if you think that the whole world seams cold,
or that all the magic has gone away, remember that your main
support system is sitting to your sorin [side]. Our dice have
been shaken, so now let them fall and go with what is presented
Maka nee deit.
Address by Teresa Michael:
ba tempu mak fo mai hau. Hau hakarak hatoo katak ami hotu
laran haksolok mai iha nee atu servisu hamutuk ho maun alin
Timor Lorosae. Ami moos kontenti liu tanba mai iha nee, aprende
kona ba cultura rai nee ho hasoru ho ema Timor. Durante fulan
rua ho balu tiha ona ami aprende buat barak kona ba cultura
i hatene ituan adat Timor nain. Ami hakarak teb-tebes atu
hatene liu tan buat barak kona ba nasaun ida nee. Ami haree
ema Timor laran diak, simu ami diak, liu liu familia ida ida
haree ami, hadomi ami hanesan sira nia oan rasik. Depois besik
fulan rua diet, ami rona historia kona ba Timor hosi ami ida-idak
nia familia, fahe experiencia ba malu. Entaun ami hatene ona
katak ema nasaun nee aten brani.
Maski ami lao dok husik hela ami nia rain i ami nia inan
aman maibee ami laduun triste tanba ema Timor moos haree ho
hadomi ami hanesan familia hanesan oan rasik. Ami kontenti
tebes atu servisu hamutuk ho maun alin sira hotu iha Timor
Iha opurtunidade diak ida nee, ami hotu foo agradese ba ami
nia mestri sira, nebee mak fo atensaun, pasiensia, ho domin
boot. Ami senti hanesan amigus boot. Ami sei nunca haluha
-- imi nia koalia, hamnasa, gosta troca idea ba malu. Tempu
diak barak hamutuk agora atu liu ona. Se la iha mestri sira
nee, entaun agora hau la hamrik iha nee ohin hodi halo diskurso
ho lian Tetun hanesan agora imi rona dadaun.
Obrigada barak ba staf Corpo da Paz hotu, ho voluntariu tuan.
Ami hantene, imi halo servisu makaas ba ami. Obrigada ba imi
nia pasiensia, matenek ho laran diak. Ho imi nia ajuda, ami
senti ami prontu ba distritu halo servisu ho ema foun.
Ohin loron boot. We have only just begun. Hau rasik hatoo
obrigada barak ba colega voluntariu foun hotu-hotu. Ami hotu-hotu
husik hela ami nia familia ida idak i agora ami forma familia
foun ida fali iha Timor. Ami nain sanulu resin walu komesa,
i ohin ami nain sanulu resin walu iha nee hotu.
Experiensia nee loke ami nia matan i hosi experiensia ida
nee ami hetan buat barak iha ami nia moris.
Experiensia nebee ami 18 hetan laos influensia ami diet,
maibee ba moos ami nia familia ho colega sira nia moris.
Maka nee deit!