Kiwi contingent day
Dili Travel Blog› entry 61 of 86 › view all entries
Everyone was pretty delighted when Jim, the contingent commander, finally gave in to the chorus of demends we have our contingent day around Christmas. He went to the Chief of Staff and it was done -26th December, Boxing Day.
Basically that meant Christmas was going to stretch over 2 days now as the contingent day is a day for which the whole contingent can come together and meet to discuss any issues and enjoy the company of other team members that may not get together over the period of the mission because of nationwide deployment. We had everyone come in on Christmas afternoon so the whole gang was here.
missed the contingent day for the Tuituia 7&8 operation (of which I am a
member) because it was arranged to fall during the week of induction for the 5
of us who arrived in country on 14th June.
The plan of this contingent day was pretty relaxed. It began after breakfast with a 1/2 hour meeting and then we all prepared to go to the Embassy where Maria had offered up her yard and pool for us to entertain the kids from the orphanage. I recalled the pool party here at the Esplanada earlier in the year and wondered if Maria really understood what she was getting herself in for.
We got to the embassy just before 10am, the kids arrived a little later. They filed in and I greeted all 32 of them with a handshake and a cheery "bom dia" before a couple of the kiwis dived in the pool and the kids were there right behind them immediately.
the whole time on the outside of the pool fence this time, camera in hand,
doing what I do best. Maria's pool is
not as big as the hotel's and the kids were much more confident this time so
there was not the same need to have us in there to hang on to.
After a couple of hours swimming came the barbeque lunch. I had done my cooking last night so others were in charge of the fire today. All in all I got off pretty lightly, except that I volunteered to clean the bbq at the end of the party. That's never a fun job!
When everyone was finished eating and had digested their lunch we went out to the carport where a sweet-filled Santa was hung for a bashing.
With 32 kids it was decided to let just one have the baton and deal the body breaking blows. The oldest boy was chosen for the task. He stepped up, took a mighty swing, and Santa lost his head!
sweet-filled body flew across the carport and hit the crowd of eagre kids,
leaving Santa's smiling head hanging off the rafters. It was truely gruesome but what was worse was
the lollies were still safe and sacure in the body.
Fingers were then used to tear the fat body apart and the contents scattered over the driveway for the kids to scramble after. As the younger ones went off to put away their handfuls of sweets the older kids sang us a selection of carols to show their appreciation.
All in all it was a successful morning and then they were ready to go. We had ordered two microlets to bring them to the embassy and had asked them to return at a prearranged time. One had turned up but the other had not. It didn't deter them at all and the kids set about seeing how many bodys counld be shoved into a microlet.
Being a minivan I was not that impressed, my friends and I used to try to shove 32 into the Mark II Ford Escort I used to drive as a teenager every week and that was just a 2-door!
Then I remembered what position I now held in mission and decided I should get back to scrubbing the bbq. I'm happy to say the second microlet driver was called so everyone got home safely, entertained and well fed.
I then spent the afternoon sorting and renaming photo files ready to share them all with the orphanage next weekend.
Next morning I went into work and was met by my new staff member, Hassan from Pakistan. I'm delighted to have a competent man in NTU with me at last. Perhaps I'll be able to share some of the work.
If that was Christmas I've done it. See you next year!