Thursday, February 09, 2006

Fr. Cyrus Banque, CMF

6:00 pm, after helping Mr. Butch Batilong create a new Blog, I called up Father Cyrus Banque, CMF and confirmed our appointment at 7:00pm.

I arrived 30 mins late. Father Cyrus was waiting for me at the porch in Claret House and talking to a Poliklinik Sister. He gave the Sister a ride home to her convent in Bebunok, near a primary school and I went with them. We then proceeded to Balide Parish to drop a letter and drove straight to Little Padang Restaurant, and Indonesan-owned restaurant along the coastal road in Dili, East Timor.

This is my first meeting with Father Cyrus in person. I saw his picture before, on the internet when he was interviewed by the press about the conflict an Bobonaro, near the Timor Leste-Indonesa border.

We talked about things back at home in the Philippines, and things back at Claret Seminary in Quezon City. I didn't get to meet him during my college days in the seminary at Sanville.

Father Cyrus has been living among the Timorese for eight years. The way Alfonso talks about Father Cyrus shows how much the Timorese love this Filipino Missionary. Alfonso has been working for 5 years with the Claretians but he has been working with Father Cyrus for the past two years only.

He is the director for Justice and Peace Commission, Dili Diocese and has given seminar with the theme Promoting healing in divided communities. He has worked with the peace and reconciliation program established by the United States-based Catholic Relief Services after East Timor’s first democratic elections in 2001.

"The country is under pressure. Do we want justice? Or do we want economic stability? This is a tough dilemma."

- Fr. Cyrus Banque

Father Rick Solomon, also Claretian Missionary who comes from Bohol, did missionary work here until he got sick with malaria and was paralyzed. He is now living with his parents' house in Antequera, Bohol

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Household Interviews in Dili, East Timor

After the workshop on household interview in Dili, East Timor, the enumerators proceeded to do actual interview with 2 households..

Pak Orlando da Costa supervising the Enumerators

Natalino Soares supervising the enumerators

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Claret House

I was waiting for Mr. Batilong to pick me up this morning and head to the office. I would introduce a desktop to the network and Mr. B atilong would continue writing his proposals.

Mr. Batilong texted me at 11:00 am complaining of stomach pain. Maybe he has eaten too much last night, or he has eaten too little. I will ask him :-)

1:00 pm, I decided to go out and find Claretian Missionary House in East Timor, which I found the address and telephone number on the internet but the number is already not in use and the address is not very specific.

I took a taxi. The driver asked me in Tetun if I want to stop by Leader Supermarket, I thought it is already Bebunok Village, so I said "yes" and I got confused why he asked me if I want him to wait for me.

Then I realized that I am still at Comoro Village. So I walked more than a kilometer, under a very hot sun. Not knowing where to go, I attempted to ask the locals where is Claret House. I know they don't understand English but they still point me to somewhere and pretend to know the place. Maybe they don't want me to know they can't understand English.

I passed by a small Signage that reads "Poliklinik Madre ... ". I told myself, this must be a Catholic nun's convent or monastery because the word "Madre" in tagalog means "nun".

I asked a nun for directions but she just smiled shyly and told me she can't speak English. I told here "Claretian Missionaries ... ? ..... CMET .... ? Fr. Cyrus ....?"

I got her attention when she heard Fr. Cyrus' name. She spoke in Portuguese but I think she means to say she knows Fr. Cyrus.

Another sister gave me a sketch of the direction to Claret House. After walking for another kilometer, I found the place at last.

But Fr. Cyrus is not there. He is just left for Bobonaro yesterday and would be back in Dili on Tuesday. I talked to Fr. Peter, a big man, an Indian Claretian. I introduced myself, and my business. He offered me a drink of water and gave me Fr. Cyrus's cellphone number...
I am very tired today. Last night, we were supposed to arrive at Nang Loida's Eatery, a Filipino style restaurant along Timor's "EDSA".

Yesterday, was the birthday of Sister Fernandez, the wife of the Baptist Pastor in Dili. We were supposed to start the party at 7:00 pm but, Mr. Butch Batilong and I lost any sense of time. I am reformatting the virus-ridden desktop at the office which the main gate to the internet. It has already infected so many systems at the office, including the laptop I am using now.

Mr. Batilong was very high on ideas about the Habitat Research Center to be built in Dili.

We ate our party dinner at 9:00 pm. I was so embarassed because everybody was already in their respective places at the restaurant, the food was ready, but they cannot start until Mr. Batilong and I arrive.

We went home 10:30 pm, I was very exhausted already