As we sit in Darwin airport, we finally have the time to reflect on the past 4 weeks of non-stop therapy and activities. After a fast-paced last week, it is hard to believe this placement and inter-cultural experience has come to an end. All teams were up late into most nights creating resources and presentations in Tetun – it was a long process to brainstorm, gather materials, construct, type in English, and translate. We then had many laughs with the CNR staff while they generously helped us check our Tetun translations!
One such occasion was when we travelled just outside Dili to Hera on Wednesday morning. There, our whole team joined in the weekly gathering of people of all ages and abilities to participate in group therapy and to promote inclusive communities. This was the fourth week UQ students had been involved in running activities. A highlight was seeing the local volunteering university students continue similar activities after we had finished our program.
It was hard to believe Thursday afternoon was all of our teams’ final therapy session and we were reluctant to leave. However, we were excited to attend the Australian Ambassador’s reception, representing UQ as invited guests. This was a great chance celebrate the New Colombo Plan, to meet other professionals working in Health in Timor-Leste, and enjoy many delicious canapés. We put work out of our minds for the night but this was short-lived as we needed finalise our presentations when we arrived home. All the effort was worth it on Friday when each group presented their topic to the CNR staff and the whole room was full of lively discussion. One of the staff members thanked our IP team for ‘a great presentation’ in the morning tea afterwards.
Our final night was celebrated by Paulo and his family inviting us to dinner in a beautiful beach-front restaurant. In this good company, with many memories and experiences to take home, we watched the sun set on our time in Timor-Leste.