A home at last

Dili Travel Blog

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The Transito office: National Traffic Dept HQ



…and here endeth the first month.

 

That also means a drop in my mission subsistence allowance as well.  I guess I’ll have to be more careful with my cash now.  Oh that’s right, I haven’t really needed any so far thanks to the NZ Government footing my bills.

 

It’s been a very interesting 30 days since I left NZ.  Much has happened and I’ve already made some great friendships and deepened others.

 

I have visited new places; Henderson in Auckland, Darwin in Aussie, and Dili, Viqueque and Uatolari here in Timor Leste.

PNTL on parade outside HQ
 

 

I must admit that it hasn’t been easy.  I have been on quite a roller coaster ride since I got here, well perhaps even since I started the whole application process if you take in my health woes, but in the first three weeks I had been thrown straight into applying for the most important traffic position in the country and I didn’t know much about the place, the workings of the UN, or where I was going to be posted between the time I finished my 10 day induction to when the job vacancy was filled.

 

Now here I am back at the Esplanada Hotel in Dili with the bulk of the NZ Police contingent because I got the job of mentoring the PNTL Chief of Traffic.  Wow!

 

 

I was lucky enough to start on Saturday.  This meant the office was quiet, with just three of us from the National Traffic Unit and one of the PNTL Trafficos on duty. 

 

We as UNPOL work 7 days a week.  8am–12 then 2–5pm.  Our UN employed Language Assistants and PNTL have weekends off.  So Saturday and Sunday I started on learning what my new job was about.

Lim and one of the Chiefs
 

 

I have come into the office at a difficult time.  Traffic is now becoming a hot topic here in TL so the pressure is about to be moved from crime and violence (which has been somewhat stabilised) to the difficulties of negotiating roads that are not designed for this number of vehicles.

 

To make matters more difficult there is a requirement that each department submit their Manuals of Best Practise (or “Normal Operating Procedures” (NOP)) on Wednesday.  Fortunately my Spanish colleague had almost completed our document and was confident about passing it to me in time for my review and to submit it.

 

I got it this morning and realised that all has been lost in translation.  Having English as a first language is very beneficial here in an English speaking mission but there are 14 languages spoken by locals in this country.  Portuguese, Tetum, and Indonesian Bahasa being the three legal or working languages means that English translation is needed by UNMIT for every new piece of legislation or official document.

 

The NOP had been prepared by the PNTL Comandante in Tetum a month ago.  Together with the Language Assistant my Spanish colleague had prepared the english version.  Unfortunately I was unable to make heads or tales of what each paragraph was trying to say.  I sat down with the LA again and we were able to suitably translate the first 5 paragraphs in about 2 hours.  Bearing in mind this is a 16 page document I think I have just walked into my first test.

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The Transito office: National Traf…
The Transito office: National Tra…
My world
My world
PNTL on parade outside HQ
PNTL on parade outside HQ
Lim and one of the Chiefs
Lim and one of the Chiefs
A typical traffic office notice bo…
A typical traffic office notice b…
Some of my PNTL staff
Some of my PNTL staff
PNTL Transito cleaning the truck
PNTL Transito cleaning the truck
An example of the traffic issues
An example of the traffic issues
Dili
photo by: jose28