Building friendships in Timor Leste

Three Year 10 students from St James Catholic College recently travelled to Timor Leste to work with the Carmelite Sisters of Timor.  Lucy, Lachlan and Jacob, along with Principal Mrs Anne Foale had an amazing experience over nine days during the October school holidays. 

The first three days were spent in the capital Dili visiting various sites and meeting people working in a range of development projects.  The group then moved to the Carmelite Orphanage in the village of Maurbara, about one hour west of Dili. 

Lucy, Lachlan and Jacob were thrilled to spend time with the 36 warm and welcoming students who live at the Orphanage. The girls took the opportunity to practise their English skills with the St James students, as fluent English is important for their ongoing education.

More practical challenges for the students included repairing all the desks in the Orphanage’s school room with new plywood tops and replacing parts attacked by white ants.  The students also refurbished four swings in the Kindergarten which is run by the Sisters across the road from the Orphanage.

The greatest reward for the three students was the gratitude, warmth and friendship which the girls offered in return for whatever we gave them

Mrs Foale said "The greatest reward for the three students, Lucy, Lachlan and Jacob, was the gratitude, warmth and friendship which the girls offered in return for whatever we gave them, whether it was having fun making loom bands, helping to learn English words and phrases, doing some minor maintenance work or just playing together."

Other St James students assisted the group by fundraising prior to the trip meaning the students were able to gift $500 to the Mary MacKillop Literacy Centre in Dili to support their work, mainly training teachers and producing resources for use in schools.  The remainder of the $1,000 raised by St James was used for costs associated with the work completed at the Orphanage and also to help the Sisters with running costs.

The students and Mrs Foale paid fully for their own expenses so all money raised was able to be contributed to the needs they identified in Timor Leste.

Timor Leste 1  Timor Leste 2  Timor Leste 3

Anne Foale repairing desks                Students enjoying the results           St James students with Sister Alexandrina