My third "First Week" in a month

Dili Travel Blog

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Commissioner's surprise birthday celebration

Well, life started in a pretty relaxed way for me in the National Traffic Office and although I had plenty to learn about my new job there seemed to be enough time to make my way.


On Tuesday morning I was invited to a planning meeting for all the Unit chiefs.  I went along not really knowing what to expect and hoping there wasn’t going to be too many curly questions. 


Upon my arrival I met a few people and many of them congratulated me on my recent appointment.  I was a little taken aback as I had never met some of these people before but they perhaps recognised the kiwi badge on my uniform and knew that a New Zealander had taken over Traffic and there were no other kiwis in the room.

My headquarters staff heading out to do point duty during peak traffic times


After I’d shaken a few more hands and forgotten a few more names (I really am trying to get better at remembering them) an announcement was made that this was not in fact a planning meeting, but a surprise birthday celebration for the Commissioner.  Wow!  I guess I really was in the upper circle to be invited to such an illustrious event.


After we’d sung and had a few speeches and a piece of cake we went out onto the lawn for several Kodak moments and then returned to our offices.  The best thing for me about this occurrence was that I got to make a few connections and lined up a couple of appointments with other heads of departments.


It has been a bit of a week for birthdays actually.


Maria, our NZ Embassy friend had her birthday on Wednesday so after a quick bite to eat in the Esplanada Restaurant we headed around to her residence at the embassy and enjoyed a very nice night celebrating the occasion.

Two birthday's in one week

  After enjoying some fine NZ cheeses and my 2nd piece of birthday cake for the week we said our good-byes and headed home.



I have been continuing my work on the translation of the Norms of Procedure for the PNTL Traffic Department but I became concerned today about how much of the document seemed out of date. 

  I went to the Director’s office with my language assistant to find out when the document was written and he advised me it was in 2007.  I explained to him that the requirement was for a new document as it had to fit with legislation that had been freshly created this month.

  I asked if I could have the updated version by this time next week but I will not be disappointed if I don’t get it.


After a well deserved lunch at Esplanada I returned to HQ where I had to meet the Chief of Staff (one of the men who sought me out at the Commissioner’s function).

Local bus

  I had no idea what he wished to see me about when I got there but he soon explained to me that the Commissioner was concerned about traffic behaviour in Timor Leste and that I had been appointed to my position as I had the expertise to sort it out.


No Pressure!!!!!!!!!!


After explaining that there was an on-going traffic safety campaign that had lost momentum, he told me he wanted me to revitalise the campaign with an internal focus and then broaden the scope to include the entire driving population of Timor Leste.


Yesterday I spent the day tracking down numerous pieces of legislation brought into force over the past 8 years and attempting to establish if it was still in force or had been repealed and superseded by newer regulations.  That in itself was a difficult task.


When I sat down to read some of the Traffic rules I found TL road rules are much the same as those in force in NZ.

Candy floss vendor
  It was only after reading these rules that I realised how much work there is to do to get the Police up and running so that they are in a position to enforce some of these regulations.


One that we don’t have in NZ is a regulation forbidding any part of a person’s body to extend out of a car door or window.  This was one of many that had me cringing when I thought about what happens on every road in the country.  Microlets (passenger mini-busses) scramble all over Dili and other major towns with anything up to 5-6 passengers hanging off the outside of the van,  Travelling in this fashion means the passenger is required to pay only a half fare.


I recall a more peaceful time in my past when I was stationed at Uatolari and the only traffic were dogs, goats and children. 


Was the really just 6 days ago???????

goezi says:
Kia ora Britt.
Posted on: Jul 20, 2009
williamsworld says:
I always feel like I'm right here (there) with you. Thanks for all the good stories.
Posted on: Jul 16, 2009
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Commissioners surprise birthday c…
Commissioner's surprise birthday …
Traffic post to view roundabout
Traffic post to view roundabout
My headquarters staff heading out …
My headquarters staff heading out…
Two birthdays in one week
Two birthday's in one week
Local bus
Local bus
Candy floss vendor
Candy floss vendor
photo by: jose28