The evening was brisk but the new Surf Coast Campus was wonderfully warm inside for the celebration of Christian College’s 15 years of being involved in Timor-Leste, Viqueque in particular.
The CEO and his ‘able assistant’ were swirling giant woks of paella as people arrived on the deck. Prefects were soldiering back and forth with heaped baskets of bread and salad bowls. Yet others were slicing large rumps of meat. The band ‘Better Ask George’ was warming up and the stage was set for an informal night of celebration and bonhomie between the hundred or so individuals present who had invested personally in the Viqueque story.
Periodically, exclamations burst forth as Maria Neves, the original Timorese liaison officer, surprised some of the original College personnel with hugs. She flew in from Sydney especially.
Also, Howard Williams, the inaugural Chairman of the Christian College board (who had been travelling), managed to attend the function. Howard was responsible for raising Timor into the consciousness of Christian College management and students, back in early 2003. His passion to support Timor ignited a flame 15 years ago. And the fire still burns.
It was a night of nostalgia and reflection on the human capital from Christian College that has invested in Viqueque, as well as an appreciation of the strong friendships that have developed over the years. Some would even say the Timorense are our Viqueque family. The Prefects were charged with continuing the legacy of this special bond, throughout this year and into the future.
To finish the night, everyone was invited to form dance circles to stomp out Tebe Dai, a traditional Viqueque corn dance song. Apart from the outside temperature, we felt like we could have been in Viqueque!