Pool Party

Dili Travel Blog

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Preparation

Part of the New Zealand contingent history here in Timor Leste revolves around an orphanage out near Becora Police Station on the Eastern edge of Dili.  The orphange was "adopted" by the Kiwis a few years back and the association has enriched the lives of the children as well as the Kiwis far from home and doing it hard away from their families here.

 

I, of course, don't have a family that I was wrenched from but I'm happy to be involved with the children for the simple reason that kids make us old buggers feel young again!

 

Every Sunday afternoon the staff here at Dili go down to the orphange for an hour to interact with the kids and play a few games with them.  I have been back in Dili for three week-ends now but the first two Sundays I haven';t been able to go on the visits because I haven't had the opportunity to get on top of my job.

There's a space over there

 

This weekend there was to be no excuses like that though.  The kids were coming to Hotel Esplanada where we were going to throw a pool party for them all.  That's 33 children aged from about 4 to 18.  We were set for a huge afternoon!

 

It was back on Tuesday that I put my report through my chain of command to seek approval to attend the pool party as part of New Zealand's contribution to Community Policing through work with the orphanage.  My Chief sent back a floral report extolling the virtures of our endevours and congratulating us for our initiative.

 

Come Sunday I was ready and there was an air of anticipation in everyone at the breakfast table that morning.  By lunchtime it was even worse.  I had told Lim I would not be returning and as soon as I got back for lunch I changed out of uniform and into my pool party clothes.

Donna with a couple of cling-ons

 

Rowan was dishing out jobs.  Mel had the transport sewn up.  The hotel was already preparing for the mid-party food and the pool was full of the unsuspecting swimmers it usually attracts on the weekends.

 

After our own lunch we went up to Rowan's room and blew up 40 odd balloons.  We finished that job all too quickly and wandered around for the next 1/2 hour feeling like we were awaiting a dental appointment.

 

I found myself down at the pool with a couple of the others.  I was ready and I had my camera to catch all the action.  A short wait later and in they poured through the hotel lobby.  I snapped a couple of quick shots and then they were filing past me all shaking my hand and wishing me a polite "boa tardi".  They were the typical lovely kids of Timor Leste.  All very polite, all perfectly mannered, and all dying to get into the pool!

 

There were no speeches, no ceremony.

Youngest guest
  I think Mel just said, "There you go, jump in!" or something like that.

 

Some of the girls tip-toed down the pool steps, still wearing all their clothes.  A couple of the young boys slid into the water off the edge of the pool but there was far too much hesitation considering they had been here before.  I think they get invited about once every 6 month deployment rotation so every contingent gets to host them.

 

Anyway, Nigel did one of his winning bombs and that had everyone wet.  A minute later the pool was full of laughing, screaming, chattering, happy children.

 

We knew there were not many that could swim.  We had been told they would all want to hang off usas we moved about the pool.  Tim, Mel, Rowan, Nigel, Donna, Theo and Kevin were already in.  I stayed out taking more shots for another 10 minutes or so and then I dived in to help them with the load.

lots of fun
 

 

It was a great afternoon but the swim was just the first and last part.  In between there was food, games and icecream.

 

The games started simply with Donna and Rowan getting out of the pool and throwing all the balloons in.  It wasn't long before most of them were popped and floating in the water.  I spent a bit of time scrambling around grabbing bits of rubber before they were sucked into the filter but it wasn't easy with a couple of kids haging around my neck.

 

After lunch was the apple eating competition Tim had arranged.  That was a hoot!  The small kids didn't manage to bite the hanging apples because their mouths were too small but there were chocolate bars for the best efforts.

  The bigger kids had no problems fitting the apples in their mouths but they was still plenty of cheating going on all the same.

Life guard Mike

  The best thing about it was most of the kids either got and apple or a chocolate bar but they all had a huge amount of fun laughing at the efforts of the ones playing the game.

 

The icecream came out just as they were getting into the pool for one last swim.  Some had the icecream, others didn't want to get out of the water.  The older boys were playing with the rugby ball at the deep end of the pool, diving into the water as they tried to take a pass from someone on the other side.  Not bad progress for some of them that wouldn't get into the water without hanging onto us at the beginning of the day.

 

When it was time to go it all happened very quickly and quietly.  They were told it was time and 10 minutes later everyone was filing out the door.  Some were still wet, most were still smiling, all were going to be sleeping well tonight -just as the 10 of us would be doing!

goezi says:
Kia ora Keith. Thanks for all your grins.
C
Posted on: Aug 07, 2009
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Preparation
Preparation
The first arrivals
The first arrivals
Theres a space over there
There's a space over there
Donna with a couple of cling-ons
Donna with a couple of cling-ons
Youngest guest
Youngest guest
lots of fun
lots of fun
Life guard Mike
Life guard Mike
Strangulation was the biggest thre…
Strangulation was the biggest thr…
Lots of smiles
Lots of smiles
Lunch!
Lunch!
Apple biting competition
Apple biting competition
diving for the ball
diving for the ball
Even the shower was a hit
Even the shower was a hit
Time for ice cream!
Time for ice cream!
Quiet drink at the end of the visit
Quiet drink at the end of the visit
Dili
photo by: jose28