Our water tank has run dry twice this week, leaving our faucets dry. Running water and electricity are not constants here, creating something between a small challenge and a great annoyance for us. For locals, anyone our age remembers when there was no electricity, and when the state water supply didn’t exist, meaning every night was dark, and every day included hours of ferrying water.
In the clinic, we fortunately have two decent sized “tankis” (like bathtubs) of water. So, when the main water tank is dry, and the clinic faucet isn’t available for hand-washing, we just walk back to the back room tankis and scoop water to wash up. Even after six years, Monica still finds this challenging; the clinic staff, not so much. No one, except us, has running water at home.
Hannah, 15, recently went to the seaside village of Teno with her friends for a getaway. She ate fresh fish and rice, hung out in sun huts, took walks on the beach each day. One evening she went out in a small fishing boat and cast nets with Anito and his dad. At night, she and the girls slept in the house on the hill, a newly constructed home that Lena’s family has been building with money that her older brother sends home from England, where he works in a Chinese restaurant.
An enjoyable time, her two night stay turned into four. She lived with an extended family of about 14. Women and girls spend lots of time cooking, but there are lots of hands to share the work. There is a nearby water source, so the family only has to carry 5-liter containers of water a short distance. When we checked in with Hannah by cell phone while she was in Teno, she would call us from on top of the hill, or from the side of the paved road that runs through the town to get cell signal. One day she and her friend took the motorcycle into Lautem, the nearest town with “services,” like shops and roadside vegetable stands, to buy phone cards. The high school students who live on the church compound here with us in Lospalos are from Teno and so we have a special connection with this village.
Simon is busy with slingshots, bikes and going to his friend’s gardens. He is handy with a machete and can scale coconut trees. In addition to Tetum, which he speaks fluently, he’s also picking up the Makassae language, the native tongue of some of his friends. Simon goes to school each day at 1pm, studies math, Portuguese and Tetum, then comes home at 6pm and continues playing with his buddies Alfon and Floriano until dark.
We had a celebratory occasion two weeks ago with the ordination of Rev. Ita Tong, whom Tom has been mentoring as a pastoral intern for the past year and a half. She’s an energetic 29 year old woman who grew up in Imanuel Church and has a deep commitment to the people and place.
We continue to learn and grow as we serve along side our partners in Clinic Imanuel and Imanuel Church. Thank you, as always, for your interest and support of our ministy.
Tom and Monica