Dili Travel Blog› entry 50 of 86 › view all entries
The first half of the team had come to Timor Leste in April and so their 6 months was up. They had been extended by the UN so they were here for any trouble with the elections but now they were good to go.
There were 13 leaving in total and we had already had 2 arrive from Tuituia 9 deployment, the new contingent commander, Jim and staff officer Tim. The Esplanada was jammed full of kiwis as all 15 additional bodies were housed here for the week of check-out where those leaving are required to work their way through the UN’s administrative process of preparing for departure.
The night before they were due to fly the
Esplanada threw us a little party. The
staff wished to show their appreciation of our business and the of course we
would return the compliment for the way they have all hosted us so well.
The evening started with Mike presenting medals to the two guys that were out of the country for our medal parade day. Even with this part of the festivities there was a feeling of strong emotion within the team.
Next Ash, the Esplanada owner gave a little
speech and a couple of the staff presented us all with traditional tais. These are cotton scarves that are woven all
around the country. Each area has it’s
own pattern, similar to the process of carpet weaving in
After these were all presented we presented the staff with t-shirts which we had ordered from a local t-shirt printing shop. They were black with a silver fern on the left breast, just like a NZ All Black rugby jersey. It was all very nice but we had an early start the next morning so we didn’t stay out too late.
We were at the airport at 6am.
We seemed to be waiting for ages but it gave me an opportunity to get around the group to bid those leaving farewell. I guess as a traveller I do this a great deal and the emotion of it all is not something I feel. There were several people there to bid farewell to those in our team who had struck up good friendships and of course the embassy staff were in attendance to greet the new contingent. The mood was subdued.
Once the Tuituia 9 team assembled in front of us and we began our haka everything seemed to go very quickly. Within 10 minutes our haka had been answered, we’d greeted the team and given our lot one last hug and handshake and they were gone.
I had arranged for an hour off to spend the
time with the new crew. They were of
course full of questions and I spent the time answering their queries as best I
could before I headed into work at 9am.
Lunchtime was still question time and the fact I knew 2 of the new crew was good as it helped them to settle in with a bit of familiarity. Dinner time was not so easy. Suddenly the people I had been eating with for the past 4 months were no longer there. It was all a bit odd as the new team had gone through their training together and were well acquainted with each other. Suddenly the 3 of us that were left here at the Esplanada were the outsiders and our routine had changed.
Tuituia 9 spent 15 days on their induction which was 5 days longer than anyone else had ever needed. It was a good introduction for them to the UN as so many of their planned sessions fell over day after day. By the time they were done with it and were given their deployments they were ready to get on with the job.
A few days after the bulk of them left to the districts I started 8 glorious days off. Ahh, life is good!!