On June 26th 2013, sixteen students and staff travelled to East Timor on the annual Prefects Safari to visit our friends in our Sister City, Viqueque, in East Timor. The first day as always, was long and arduous as we crossed the island’s mountain range from north to south, a 7 - 8 hour drive by four wheel vehicles over terrible roads, (if you can call them that) where 30km/hour seemed fast!
However, the gruelling travel weariness was soon washed away on arrival when we were so warmly greeted by our East Timorese families and friends. To have our cars physically surrounded by smiling faces and warm welcomes is always a highlight.
Over the next week, we visited a number of schools which we have been involved with, helped the teachers at the Kinder and simply enjoyed playing with the little children on our door step. We taught English lessons, played sport and generally enjoyed immersing ourselves with the people living in the neighbourhood that directly surrounds our Friendship House and accommodation house. Dr Deb (Watson) spent time helping people who suffered from cuts, illnesses or some other medical need, even helping with the delivery of a baby at the local hospital.
These trips are always filled with surprises; on arrival we were asked to become the guests of honour at a wedding in the Village. This invitation came just two hours after our arrival in Viqueque! Our Senior students were incredible, their ability to move into such demanding living arrangements and mix so positively with hundreds of children and families in such a short time was wonderful.
The trip was very successful on so many different levels and I am sure the students and staff will never forget the experiences they enjoyed and the challenges they overcame. Thanks to Deb Singleton, Chris Maddock, Michael Neaves and Deb Watson for the great care they showed the students as well as their willingness and resourcefulness in all situations. Well done crew.
Daryl C Riddle CEO
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