The Daily Prompt: The Golden Hour – Dawn

The topic at The Daily Prompt:  The Golden Hour today reminded me of my trip to Timor-Leste last year, and the medical mission that I had the good fortune to join in while I was there.

Dawn found us on the side of the road at a mid-way point, trying to keep warm in the suddenly cold and frosty mountain air.DS2_8411

With the sun just starting to peek over the mountains, we ate a quick breakfast before moving on, towards those mountains in the distance.


If you want to read more of the Turiscai Medical Mission, you can find it here.


The Year That Was

Snippets from the past year that has stayed on my mind … it’s not too late for this, right?  I started this last week for the Weekly Photo Challenge, but didn’t post in time.  Since I did half the work already, I’ll just post it anyway.

From the Philadelphia Flower Show, these purple, blue and green orchids caught my eye and I couldn’t tear myself away from it.

A couple of weeks later, it was off to the New York Botanical Garden for their annual Orchid Show.

In San Diego, blood oranges and eggplant cactus fascinated me.  Okay, so the proper name for the cactus is Aeonium.  But I like my name better 🙂

Monet’s Gardens – what a treat!  The lilies … the daffodils … the colour explosion

We had soccer tournaments from freezing weather to hot, brutal sun … and I hear there’s more soccer travel planned for this year …

A trip to Dili, Timor-LesteCristu Rei of DiliGeorgina! … AFET Humanitarian and Medical Mission 

Hurricane Sandy
blew away our Halloween and fall season and turned lives upside-down and inside-out …

The end of year and I’m back to Africa  …  the clouds … River Nile watercolour sunsets … did I mention clouds?

From the statistics, this blue-eyed fellow was the most-searched item:

And my personal favourites …  La Morenada

… model flowers and the Volitan Lion Fish

Hope yours was a good year as well.


Fishing in Low Tide

The road to the Tibar Beach Resort, just outside of the city of Dili, is a nice drive along the coast.  It is owned by a Timorese husband and wife team, who returned from Australia and set up the resort.  The restaurant is well-known for its fine cuisine and beautiful views.

The sea was at low tide.  This is the view from the balcony of the restaurant.

In the distance, I see spots out in the sea.

Villagers, going out to fish.

Hmmm ….. run aground? stranded?

This guy had the right idea … relax under a tree at the height of the heat of the day …


Getting Around Dili

As you may have noticed, I’m finally catching up on all the blog posts that I couldn’t post during my month-long trip. Since my last post from Dili, the internet gods had not been good to me, and I couldn’t stay online long enough to write anything or upload pictures to post. Maybe an upgraded laptop would have helped, I don’t know. (Tip for the next travels … upgrade the laptop first.)

These are traffic sights in and around Dili. Most of them were taken from inside the car, as we were driving. We didn’t walk around too much, when we were there.


Going to school …

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I tried to get pictures of whole families on the back of these motorcycles, but they zipped by too fast.  I’m still going through my pictures, so maybe I’ll find one.   What’s amazing is that the operator of the motorcycle has on the helmet.  Most adult passengers bring their own helmet.  But the children have none.  Hmmmm …..





Timor and the crocodile

This is a traditional story about the birth of Timor which is told to children all over Timor-Leste.

A young boy saw a small crocodile struggling to get from a lagoon to the sea. The boy picked the crocodile up and helped him. The crocodile was grateful and told the boy that if he ever needed help he should stand by the edge of the sea and call ‘Crocodile!’

One day the boy needed to travel across the sea, so he called ‘Crocodile!’  He rode on the crocodile’s back. The crocodile took him on many journeys after that, but soon the crocodile’s instinct to eat the boy grew strong. The crocodile felt unhappy about this and asked the advice of many animals. They told him that he should not repay the boy’s kindness by eating him. The crocodile could not hurt his friend.

In time the crocodile grew very old. He told the boy that when he (the crocodile) died, he would change into a beautiful land where the boy and his children could live. The crocodile became the land of Timor.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

When I told people I would be travelling to Timor-Lester, invariably I would be warned about the salt-water crocodiles.  Apparently, they’re all over the place and swim in the rivers and seas around Dili.  And that some people keep them as pets, in a cage by their house.

And so all throughout my stay in Timor-Leste, I was on the look out for a glimpse of a crocodile.  All I heard were stories of how they were sitting by the Casbar, and a crocodile swam past in the waters below; or how the Australians had caught a crocodile, then kept it in their barracks.

Until one day, Mae remembered that the Police Headquarters had a crocodile for a pet, in their front garden.  She called up Luiz, who then asked her if she had made an appointment with Georgina.  No, replied Mae.  Well then, said Luiz, bring her chicken and some ice cream.  Maybe she’ll come up and out of the water.

And so it was at 2:30 pm on our last full day in Dili that we all piled into Richa’s car, for a date with Georgina.  On the way, we stopped to buy chicken.  We forgot the ice cream.

Arriving at the Police Headquarters, we told them we’d come to visit Georgina.  They must have thought we were addle-brained, the heat must have gotten to the heads of this group of ladies.  In any case, they let us in through their entrance, where we proceeded to the front garden.

There, they told us.  Knock on the gate, Georgina will hear you, and come out of the water.  Oh, you must whistle as well; she likes whistles.

And so we stood there, some of us whistling.  I went up to the gate and knocked.

Yoo-hoo, I called out, we’ve come to visit.  I kept an eye on the waters in front of me, with my camera at the ready.  When there was no movement, I stepped back onto the concrete and turned to the left.  My eyes caught something grey, that looked like it had a snout and two eyes.  And then it was moving fast towards me!

Oh!  there it is!  The crocodile!!  It’s Georgina!


And so fast did these ladies back away from the enclosure, all the while squealing and laughing.

We gave the guard the bag of chicken that we brought.  He proceeded to throw over pieces of the chicken over the fence, where Georgina would catch it in her mouth, give it one chomp, maybe two, then swallow.


And all the while we stood there and watched, fascinated, at this primordial beast, chomping its meal, and then waiting with its mouth open for the next piece to drop in.

How did she get here?  we asked.  Well, apparently, some people had gotten into their vehicle one morning and tried to drive off.  The vehicle wouldn’t move; there was something blocking the wheels.  Coming out of the vehicle and looking under to move what was blocking it, they saw this crocodile lying across the width of the vehicle.  From what they could find out, somebody had let loose the crocodile out on the streets of Dili.  Who caught her?  the Australians, they said.  Yep, those Australians must be expert at catching crocodiles.  And so she was brought here to the Police Headquarters.

Well, there was only so much chicken, and there was only so much time we had to just stand there and stare at her eat.  Rather rude of us, no?  She didn’t do anything else after she had her meal, and we didn’t bring ice cream, so I don’t know … maybe she might have done something else if we had brought ice cream, maybe like get up and walk.

Saying our good-byes and thanking the guards and police, we took our leave, leaving Georgina in the peace of her garden.

At least I saw a crocodile … even if it was a pet.

AFET: Wrapping up

After the last patients had been treated, the church doors were closed.  The Sisters had kindly prepared lunch for us, before our trip back to Dili.

I suddenly remembered that we had to go back down the mountain, on those same winding, bumpy narrow roads.  And I didn’t want to be on those roads when darkness fell.  But at that time, there didn’t seem to be any rush to leave just yet.

On the way back, we stopped in Maubessi again, the half-way point, from where we parted ways.


Along the way, we handed out the extra goody bags to the children.


Needless to say, the smiles on the children’s faces were worth the day’s sores and bumps.

AFET: The Humanitarian and Medical Mission

The Sisters had arranged for the word to be spread that there would be doctors in the church that day, and the people came.  The lines out the door were long.  Some had walked miles to get to the church.

  Their basic information and medical complaint were taken down.  Carrying their slip of paper, they went to sit on the bench to wait for their turn with the doctors.  This was probably their once a year visit with a doctor.

The nurses



The doctors



Lining up at the pharmacy for their medication.  That’s where I was stationed,filing out the prescriptions from the doctors.  I hope I gave out the right medication 🙂


The translators, explaining the dosage and instructions


And the Sisters made doubly sure that the people understood the instructions …


I think there were close to 150 people who came to the church that day.  A good day’s work.