Lessons from East Timor

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Lessons from East Timor

Christine and I have just returned from East Timor. We spent seven days there and had a great time. Our good friends Ralph and Margaret Plarre also came along. Having great friends with us made the trip really special. It’s always better to share the experience. It was really something.

We travelled down to the end of Timor to Jaco, where we were to go snorkelling. It is supposedly one of the best places in the world to go diving but we missed out, as the weather was too rough to even go swimming – let alone diving. The road was also very rough: 4WD only. Even with 4WD it was nearly impossible to get there. The roads in East Timor are not the best…

We also stayed at Com, on the other side of the island, at a big resort. We were the only guests there. I think now that the UN has left, plus the army, tourism is really hurting. The big dollars are gone. We also stayed at Baucau. Again, we were the only guests in the resort. In fact, we hardly saw a Westerner, except in Dili.

We worked for a couple days in the bakehouse and showed them how to make our biscuits. But really, they taught me heaps more than we taught them. The nuns, with their teams, run a very successful bakery. And they make a good profit, which goes back into the community and helps run the orphanage.

Christine told the nuns we will be back next year, it was not my idea. But I’m glad she did  because, I must admit, it’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done in my baking career, helping set up this bakery in East Timor. The commitment and passion that the Timorese bakers and nuns have is simply wonderful to see. They can’t help but be successful, for besides loaves of bread and stuff, they generate love, mutual appreciation and respect.

It’s pretty simple: just treat others as you want to be treated.

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