Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Bondia Timor Leste

COUNTRY: Timor Leste
PROGRAM: Faculty Placement
PROJECT: Health Science
WRITTEN BY: UQ Health Science Team


As we all gathered in the airport, the feeling within the team was filled to the brim with excitement and anticipation of what was to come in Timor-Leste. Our first glimpse from the plane was of the mountainous landscape and beautiful coral sea. As we stepped onto the tarmac we were hit by the wave of heat and humidity. We were greeted by Paulo and were quickly guided to the local form of public transport – a mikrolet.

Our first few days were spent exploring the local Dili sights and learning about the country’s rich history. A highlight included hiking up to Cristo Rei, where we were rewarded with a 360 degree view of Dili. Our hike was followed by a nice swim at a nearby beach, a chance to interact with the local people and practice our Tetun. The Resistance Museum provided us with a chance to learn about and understand the country’s past challenges and gave us an insight into how they overcame adversity.

The team was warmly welcomed by the Centre of National Rehabilitation (CNR) staff whom we would be working alongside for the next 4 weeks. We were impressed by their facilities and resources and the staff’s eagerness to learn more from us as well as us learning from them. Our first day of placement took us out of the busy streets of Dili and into the countryside where we met children and their families at the local rehabilitation centre. Our language learning was fast tracked by being thrown into the deep end as we needed to communicate and connect with both the CNR staff and our clients. This was challenging but we always had a good laugh together over our language mistakes. Throughout the week, we had a chance to work with CNR staff from each of the professions in our interprofessional teams and it has been a great learning experience so far. The week flew by and we had our first weekend exploring Timor’s natural beauty.

This took us to Mt Ramelau, the highest point in Timor. We woke up at 2am to make it to the top by sunrise and it was an experience we will never forget. We are excited to see what the next 3 weeks holds for the team both at CNR and on the weekends.

Until next time, adeus! 

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