Christian College has had strong ties with East Timor for more than 20 years. Having established the Uma Maun Alin ‘Friendship House’ in Viqueque in the south-east of the country, annual visits by Christian College working parties, Senior School prefects and Our World students have seen incredible relationships built and developed between a whole generation of students from our College, and East Timorese communities.
For VCE students undertaking Our World studies through Global Politics units, typically a 15-day itinerary in East Timor can include:
- Familiarisation with the capital city, Dili, including a visit to the Resistance Museum, a visit to Oxfam to hear first-hand about that organisation’s work in East Timor, a visit to the Santa Cruz cemetery and a visit to Dare, about 30 minutes from the centre of Dili to gain an insight into Australia’s involvement in the country during World War II.
- Travel to Viqueque via some of East Timor’s spectacular coastline, including meeting a local family on the way in Venilale. With a base at Uma Maun Alin, students spend time visiting and running programs at various schools in the area, as well as helping out with English, IT and Kindergarten programs at Friendship House. They also visit markets, mingle with the local community forming new friendships, as well as visiting various NGO programs.
- Visit Loi Hono Waila karini, absorbing some of the magnificent natural features and investigating the possibility of tourism ventures that could be available to the local communities.
- Visit to the island of Atauro, 25km north of Dili, looking at ecotourism in East Timor and examining the positives and negatives of opening the country at large up to tourism
Some Student Reflections on the Our World trip to East Timor
“My highlight would be teaching in the schools it was the best feeling.”
“I cannot forget this trip. The things I’ve seen, the people I’ve met, and the memories I’ve made will be forever cherished in my heart.”
“But I got to see poverty, in real life situations and meet the real people struggling through it, happily struggling, yet definitely still struggling.”
“Although we were quite alike in our plans for our future, it was quite profound to see the obvious difficulties that (the East Timorese people) will face, that I will not have to.”