Twenty Ten - started with an echo of a bang

Dili Travel Blog

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PNTL attend to their image
I was rudely awoken by the fireworks at midnight when 2009 turned into 2010 but I stayed awake only long enough to register what the noise was, turn over and think I'd have to get up for work in 6.5 hours.

It's been odd in mission over the Christmas New Year period.  All those managers that would usually give me work are away and since HU is in China, LIM has redeployed and Paulo is on holiday the days are long and quiet but I'm managing to get some good work done and Farooq is making good progress learning how National Traffic operates.

Of course the hols are over now, Paulo's back and tomorrow Hu returns.  There have been some interesting things happening through the mission, in particular on the 28th December a party turned ugly and a well known young Timorese musician was killed.
Anna-maria studies for her exam next week
  Unfortunately the investigation into the death is centered on one of the PNTL Task Force cops.

The young man came from a reasonably well to do family so that probably saved us from mass burnings rather than the quiet protest march the family had following the coffin.  Banners and placards read "Police murder our Children".  There is a simmering tension throughout Dili and people are not happy with the thuggery of the PNTL Task Force.  I have to say I've seen it myself at the finish line of the Tour de Timor last August and stepped in to prevent someone being hurt by this baton swinging bully-boy.

Right now the Timor Leste government has stepped in and directed the PNTL to stay in the police stations.
The PNTL share their "Kolu" or "Jaka" with me (Jack fruit)
  Unfortunately this leaves UNPOL policing the streets and doing a mediocre job of it.

After more violence was badly handled by staff working in the middle of the night the RDTL media is full of stories about whether there are any police in charge of security in this country and if PNTL are up to the task or if UNPOL have any power here at all.  The papers have been fluttering with these stories for a week now and I have to say they are starting to ask the same questions we have been asking around the dining tables at the Esplanada Hotel for months.  It could turn out to be a very interesting month!

Ufortunately the inquiry into the "alleged" police shooting has got nowhere in the 10 days since it occurred.  The papers talk of a lack of accountability so the government answers to say the officer responsible will be dealt with by the full weight of the court.
PNTL HQ parade ground gets a spruce up
  No-one has talked about carrying out a thorough investigation and finding some answers.  Until now, that is.

This morning the file was given to one of the Kiwis in homocide squad.  He is to review the file and do some good old fashion kiwi policing to determine what has happened and who is responsible.  The chatter around the dining table is now all about how our countryman will calm the troubled waters and prevent Dili from burning through his magnificent investigative prowess.  We jest but in the back of our minds we hope he is in time to prevent the fires from being lit.

In the meantime I have continued with the things that fill my days.  Traffic still crawls around the city, tooting, swerving and red light jumping as it has since I arrived.
Farooq & Paulo inspect progress on the Transito office
  I went to my PNTL base to see how ready they were for the campaign that was due to begin on November 30th (but they had delayed) and was now scheduled for January 21st.  I found out the two Sub-inspectors have exam the next day, the rest of the agents have theirs next week.  A national traffic campaign is the last thing on their minds and I now smile inwardly knowing that in 10 days I shall enjoy my next week of compensatory time off.

I didn't take much time off in my first 6 months in-mission.  Just 10 days off in 6 months.  What that means is that I have almost a year of CTO to take in my remaining 6 months in-mission.  I'll have about two weeks off every month.  That works out to about 12 weeks of working in the office left before I'm done.
Comoro River in flood
  Yep, counting in weeks!

Today Farooq flew to Oecussi to oversee the exam process.  In the afternoon Paulo and I went to collect HU from the airport but one of his countrymen had that job covered.  Instead we went up the hills overlooking Dili and I added another spot visited to my collection.

It hasn't rained for about 4 days.  Well, it has, but not monsoon rain like it has since my retun from Sydney last month.  Comoro river was in flood, along with half of Dili during the rains.  Today the river was as dry as a month old salami and the stone shovelers could have returned to their holes to sift more gravel.

It's a very odd world we live in.  I hope I get to see it all!
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PNTL attend to their image
PNTL attend to their image
Anna-maria studies for her exam ne…
Anna-maria studies for her exam n…
The PNTL share their Kolu or Ja…
The PNTL share their "Kolu" or "J…
PNTL HQ parade ground gets a spruc…
PNTL HQ parade ground gets a spru…
Farooq & Paulo inspect progress on…
Farooq & Paulo inspect progress o…
Comoro River in flood
Comoro River in flood
Coming along but far from finished
Coming along but far from finished
We still arent in the Transito of…
We still aren't in the Transito o…
Ave Maria shrine behind Dili
Ave Maria shrine behind Dili
I head up to Pope monument
I head up to Pope monument
Pope John Paul II statue above Dil…
Pope John Paul II statue above Di…
Dili Rock with airport in backgrou…
Dili Rock with airport in backgro…
I took Farooq to the concrete fact…
I took Farooq to the concrete fac…
Pope statue sits on high
Pope statue sits on high
photo by: goezi