Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I missed Amie's wedding. I have no update on what is going on in Bohol at the moment. I am tight on by budget so I couldn't buy load for my cellphone. And worst, the phone line from East Timor to the PHilippines is vague. I can hear our executive director talking in Bohol but he could not hear me. I wasted $3 for my long distance calls.

My 15 day work contract with Habitat for Humanity Timor Leste has ended. I am now on the first week of the new 3 month extension contract with them but at the moment, I have not yet signed any paper.

Today, we are supposed to receive our salary. I hope I have something to bring home today.

Maybe I can now buy load for my phone.


I could not find any english newspaper sold in East Timor. My friend told me to get inside a Western Union branch office and pretend to do a business transaction. Then grab a free english neswpaper, which I did. I read the paper from cover to cover since I don't have the guts to take the paper home without paying for it.

My girlfriend offered me to send brief news articles in email.

Withdrawal Symptoms

I am having withdrawal symptoms at the moment. It has been more than one week since I cannot surf the internet.

Back home in the Philippines, the internet plays a very big part of my life. I don't watch TV a lot but I get news from the net. And communications with friends and love ones too.

Communication is very much critical in the office at this moment. My boss, Mr. Butch Batilong, has to email his report to his big bosses in Thailand, but we couldn't get the internet to work. So I called up Timor Telecom and I was told they are having "technical problems" at the moment.

We don't have any other options. If we go outside and look for internet cafe, they have the same problem because there is only one internet service provider in East Timor.

So, we used the HP officejet 4-in-1 machine to send our report to Bangkok through fax. It is the first time we used this machine other than for printing so I grabbed the manual and followed the instructions by letter.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Field work

Today is a very tiring day for me. I went alone with the local Habitat for Humanity staff into Liquica, a district (municipality) in Timor Leste. Tony Irving stayed in the apartment to finish his tons of work for the development of database software. I think Dr. Nestor Pestelos and Mr. Butch Batilong had a meeting with the World Vision officers.

This is my sixth day here in Timor Leste. Sleeping beyond midnight is a normal routine for me here. I brought the printer from the office into my room so I could print my revised survey questionnaires which is translated into Bahasa. I learn a few bahasa indonesia vocabulary in return.

I am so stressed these days. Maybe because we have tons of work. I feel like I have a fever, God forbid, it's not malaria. Anyway I feel better now after I sleep from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm and i took a warm shower.

Mr. Butch Batilong knows how to manage his people very well. I can see the way how the local HFHI staff operates under Mr. Batilong's direction. Sensing that Tony, Sir Nestor and I are exhausted, Mr. Batilong gave us a treat to scenic view of Timor Leste. This is such a beautiful country and friendly people.

I have a feeling my inital 15 days of stay here would be extended to 3 more months because there is still so much to do here, specially in the database project.

I will also be glad to help and teach the local staff about computer maintenance and computer networking, if I have time. I think I have enough time.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Not Lost in Translation

Today is the second day of our workshop on Poverty Database and Monitoring for Habitat for Humatiy project in Timor Leste.

We have the questionnaires for the survey but they are in English. I ask them to translate it to Tetun but Alvaro, the finance officer of Habitat said they prefer to transalte it to Bahasa because Bahasa is a more "complete" language".

Sunday, January 08, 2006


We arrived in Bali last night at 7pm. We took flights from Manila-Singapore-Bali. My boss, Dr Pestelos was mistaken for an Indonesia in the Bali Airport. We were in a happy mood inside the taxi as the driver told us the similarity of his language with Bisaya, specifically in the way we count.

We checked in Melasti Bungalow. Nice place. Same time zone in the Philippines, similar climate.

We roamed around, took pictures. I bought a painting, and souvenir items.

Dr. Pestelos called up a travel agent. Anytime now when the agent arrives in our hotel, he will take us to a tour of the place. Tony Irving is tired and sleeping in the room. I left him a note saying I will be in an internet cafe and left the key on the table. We stay in the same room while Dr. Pestelos and Mr. Butch Batilong of Habitat for Humanity are staying in the same room, but separate from ours

Sunday, January 01, 2006

A beautiful thought

What a beautiful thought. a quote from Mark Twain: