Progress report

Dili Travel Blog

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PNTL celebrate 10 years of existence
It's been a busy month since I arrived back in Dili from Dawin.  I arrived broken and that's just very uncool but 4 weeks has gone by and I've had no time to dwell on my very sore back and my restricted movement, instead of winding down to the end of my mission in 2 weeks things seem to be winding up.  I can't understand how I seem to have been more busy than anyone else I've been working alongside and now it's getting more busy (whew)...

So, what's been going on?  I spent the first couple of weeks back here creeping about thanks to my back.  Had to do a bit of running around to get the administration jobs done because of the medical appointments, missed flight from Darwin etc, then try to find a chiropractor (of which there are none in this country) before settling for physio.
Chief of Operations, Prasad gathers his operation family together to say farewell
  Oddly enough the physio was a kiwi who was best friends with the traffic manager I worked with in District HQ back in Rotorua before I came here.  Small, small, small world, right?!!

I also had a new Aussie staff member who I got to coach up to take my team leader's position when I leave mission in June.  He will have to apply for the position like everyone else but I wanted to find someone to work in the office who is capable of doing the job and will have a similar understanding of traffic policing as I have, Aussies are our cousins across the Tasman Sea so much of our processes are the same.
  I can't say we hit it off from the outset.  My new man felt it should all be done his way.  I hadn't just spent 10 months trying to win the trust of the PNTL in the hope they would accept my project proposals to have someone come in and start from scratch.
Barbeque, pool, beers. Now that's a party!
  I explained to the man that this job is NOT about us, it's all about the PNTL and the country of Timor Leste.  It's taken me 3 weeks but I now have him realising that what I have prepared this past year is well suited to the PNTL and they will decide the final product.  It's so nice to have a staff member working with me at last!!

Talking about projects, I have had a great 7 days as I have sorted out the phasing of three sets of Dili's traffic lights and the result is better traffic flow.  A small victory but a victory none the less.  Put that together with the Department of Timor Transport accepting our new design for traffic infringement notices and that's two small victories.
  Today I had three more victories but these were of a scale more grand.
THAT is a very LOUD shirt!
  The PNTL Commander has agreed to review our three templates for the infringement notices.  He wasn't convinced that my favourite was best for the PNTL but there is still time to talk through the pros and cons on that one.  It seems very obvious though, that should you visit Timor Leste in the future and get caught doing naughty things in the traffic the souvenir you'll receive will have been produced by yours truly.
What I don't want to have you see, should you visit, is the biggest success of today's meeting.  The Commander gave me the go-ahead to generate the crash report I have been working on for the past three months.  He didn't want any changes and wants training to begin as soon as they can get some funding to bring staff up here.
Four of the team will leave in the morning
  I am delighted as this form is not only a great investigative tool but is designed to capture statistical data, something that is badly lacking in Timor Leste.  You cannot fix a problem until you know what the problem is and that means traffic statistics must be captured from every crash.  This form will go a long way to helping do that and I've been pushing to improve data collection from the end of my first month as the national manager.

We have also begun training the UNPOL traffic staff in the use of speed radar guns.  I ran my first lecture on Sunday and seemed to have some success.  They say the proof is in the pudding but for this the proof will be in the infringement numbers on next week's spreadsheet.  While I go on 10 days off after tomorrow I'm hoping my staff will get a few more training sessions done; to finish the Dili staff and complete a few of the neighbouring districts.
Just so you don't miss me too much when I leave...
  I was hoping to get out o those places myself to have a look around but time is against me.

Last Friday night we all had a barbeque and a party here at the Esplanada.  There were three birthdays to be celebrated but there were also 4 of our team returning to NZ at the end of their 6 month mission.  We all put on "loud shirts" and gave them a jolly good send off.  I firmly believe the 3 hours I spend on the dance floor shakin' my groove thang has actually fixed my back.  I can see I will have to get to more dance parties, festivals, raves, and concerts in the future (sigh, oh all right then!) if I am to stay up straight and mobile.
  Next morning we dragged our butts out of bed before sunrise and got them down to the airport to make sure they got on the plane.
Rain stops play

Time is running out...  We have less than 7 weeks until we will all be doing the same thing and 15 new kiwis will be stepping off the plane to take our place.  Of that 7 weeks I will be at work for just 3 of them, the rest of the time I will be taking the leave I never took in the first 6 months of my mission.  I am in two minds if I should take the time off.  I wan to capitalise on the progress finally being made but I also want to see the parts of this fantastic country I haven't had the chance to see yet.  I guess I have to let go one day so now that the Aussie is reading from the same page perhaps I should step back and do what everyone kept telling me to do when I first arrived into this job, "just relax".

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PNTL celebrate 10 years of existen…
PNTL celebrate 10 years of existe…
Chief of Operations, Prasad gather…
Chief of Operations, Prasad gathe…
Barbeque, pool, beers.  Now thats…
Barbeque, pool, beers. Now that'…
THAT is a very LOUD shirt!
THAT is a very LOUD shirt!
Four of the team will leave in the…
Four of the team will leave in th…
Just so you dont miss me too much…
Just so you don't miss me too muc…
Rain stops play
Rain stops play
photo by: jose28