Greetings to All from Timor. My wife (Peggy) , my daughters christine and Tassya had left Singapore for Timor on July 12th and I have been here since July 30th.Things has been great , the days were started with great and beautiful mornings where the temperature is around 19 degrees even though the day time will be around 28 to 32 degrees.Most of the day are cloudless .On my last posting we can see Michael , Pritty and Julie starting their primary one schoolling.Our joy has been more and more and especially starting this morning when our 5 boys starting their preschool days. Markus, Christopher, Victor, elis and Edu in their school uniforms being sent off to their school (as shown in the picture).It is certainly a great feeling seeing onced our days old babies leaving for school. My trip from Singapore was really a great trip , good weather all the way and beautiful view during the flight. My happiness was really jacked up as the plane landed at Eltari Airport on that 30th evening. If you are familiar with Timor you will be able to share the feelings . Our dinner were accompanied by papaya flower dish, “sei” the smoke beef meat , eggplant and some spare ribs ( with the hot chilly paste of course). Our orphanage has been richer by two more new babies , a 40 days old Sonnie and a 30 days old Jennie. Sonnie family’s condition is really far below the poverty level. I can not believe my eyes when I went to take him and to bring him back with us. It was around 8 Pm and in a complete darkness when we reached his place. It was an empty house , one bench at the living room and another smaller bench the rear room. The family usually seating on the unpaved floor and with one kerosene lighting flame for the whole house. We on found Sonnie laying on the only made up bed from the wooden materials and a straw mattress. He was having no proper clothes and to make him warm and the family were boiling water with woods to make the heat in a 2 by 2 meters room. The house is both windowless and doorless. The family was having nothing to eat except a bowl of pouridge for the 8 family members and nothing to seat on. It was a privillege for us to come and to be able to bring a 25 kg bag of rice ,a box of instant noodles , cooking oil, salt , sugar, eggs,4 plastic chairs , a plastic table and 15 liters of kerosene. The other baby is Jennie , no more parents around and she was ill too when she came to us.
August 5th was a special day for the orphanage. We were having Singapore Airlines friends from FCAP ( Fellowship of Christian Airlines personel ) came to visit us all the way from Singapore. They have been very supportive to the orphanage even during the orphanage’s bulding process some years ago. Indeed a special visit for all the orphanage members for having them with us.The group consist of sister Anne Lee and her husband Lee, sister Catherine Yap, Sister katherine Koh , sister lilian Ng, sister Amy Lee, brother Justin Wee (who cooked his special 3 eggs dish which consist of duck salted eggs, chicken eggs and century eggs), sister chow Tay Pin,sister jennie Lee and sister Meng Suan.
They were helping us in many things during their stay including washing the dishes, preparing meals both for the orphanage children and the villagers, feeding the children ,making meat balls manually and even giving bath to the children.Special dance were peformed when we were attending the church service and when we were having a gathering with the children from the village. Some values to learn from them who came to our orphanage from a modern city (country) like Singapore that they were able to stay with us even though the facilities was so basic.The group were able to taste the orphange’s jack fruit which was rippen before they came.It was a really nice jackfruit. It was a special day for sister Katherine Koh as she was celebrating her birthday at the orphanage and away from her comfort zone. The group was also having the chance to help out some localschool ( SMP 6 or secondary school 6 of Kupang city) students to be more aggresive on learning English and more practice. Even the city schools are still so weak about the ability to master the English laguage. That is why we are building a library and running the mobile library project for those who can not reach our library. Our thanks to the Singapore Airlines FCAP members . On Aug 6th morning miss Samantha the Chief Stewardess of Singapore Airlines was arriving in Singapore from London ,she went home just to get change and straight back to the airport again then departing to Timor ( via Jakarta ) just to be with the orphanage. She was not just visiting but helping on every thing that needed to be done like giving bath to the little ones , washing the dishes,cleaningthe alley, cooking both for the orphans and for us , helping us to to look after the babies and to host the village children when they were visiting the orphanage and even sleeping side by side with the orphans. She is really part of the orphanage and we really appreciate what has been done for us highly. It was a sad day when all of the Singaporean friends leaving our place and returning to Singapore. The orphanage has been blessed with having so many friends that are willing to help out in many ways . The mandatory matters were felt like a fun thing to do if we are doing it together with friends. Our orphange was receiving so many love gifts from our Singaporean brothers and sisters , such as lots of flash light. Flash light is very important as there are so many black out nights for this area. A lot of toys and clothing which we are also distributing them to the villagers as part of our way to spread the blessings to others. This is the dry season for Timor . It is the time when drinking water is so precious and difficult to get but on our orphanage’s soil we are having rippened bananas quite frequently, all the mango trees are flowering with some small mangos on some trees already . If you are coming in December , you may enjoy the mangos together with us. Last year in December we were having a good harvest of mangos. The pigs were giving birth of 3 little pigs and another pregnant pig will give birth too shortly. The chily trees provides so many chilies. As we are so blessed , we are also trying our best to extend these blessings to others. Peggy and I ( the orphanage ) has been helping the veggies sellers by giving them some capital to increase their income and giving them things which enhance sanitation like soap , tooth paste and detergents which are earth friendly type. These veggies sellers ( woman villagers) are hard working group of people. They will start as early as 04 00 Am , walking to the market of 6 km away through the bushes and stony roads while bringing their veggies and some are bringing woods for cooking ( the woods were collected a day before) . usually they are walking together in groups. Some who doesn’t have sandals must endure the pain of walking bare footed. The value of their merchadise are around 8 to 10 USD and the net profit is around 1,5 to 2 USD . Just the walking part only is at least already some 12 KM daily . If the veggies are sold , they will use about half of the money to by their new veggies directly from the farmer , cutting the veggies them selves at the farm , brought them back home and at night together with the rest of the family members they are making it into a certain size bunch and tie them bit by bit. Usually finishes by 22:00 PM then at 04 Am they must start walking again to sell them to the market. Some of the money that they are making are being used to by their daily needs such as a soap bar ( 10 Cents USD) , salt of 5 Cents , sugar some 10 Cents , coffee some 10 to 20 cents and a new sandals if they have enough money for it which would cost around 60 Cents USD. At the orphanage we are helping them also by selling some house hold items which we get them without any capital from the factory agent .We sell them without any profit and they can pay them in installments of 10 , 20 or some 50 cents perday . By doing so they can have their house hold equipment more complete and affordable. The items are consits of plastic buckets for storing drinking water, plates , ladle ,frying pans or sort, kerosene stove , pales , oven to bake cake which using the kerosene to heat up etc. Occasionally we are asking them to come to the orphanage and brief them about what better things to do and discussing about so many issues in life such as family planning and making priorities in life . Another blessing for the orphanage is has been the presence of my father in law, the 76 years young Cornelis. He has been sharing us about the juice of life and the methods about teaching the young. So much that we have been learning from him and it has been wonderful to have him around teaching the orphans about English. From simple things and interesting games he is able to make the children happy , cheerful and following his teaching . It can be such simple as stands up and seats down , hands up and hands down thing. Every day with one more new thing being injected to the children , I am convinced that one day our orphans will be able to know Indonesian as well as English at the same time.We made our tiny corner near the kitchen into a place where we conduct the lessons to the children. Cornelis also making some sort of short stories or statements on a piece of paper and stick it on the wall and using them as a learning tools for the orphans about English. My daughter Tassya also making her evening as a productive evening too, she teaches the older orphans to repeat her on learning how to pronounce some words in english. English has not been getting enough attention by the schools as weekly they are only getting a 45 minutes slot lessons for it ( especially for schools in the out skirt area like our orphanage area). Helping to do their home work and making some simple problem for them to exercise. Tassya also looking after Sonnie daily and sleeping with him by her self after my daughter Christine has left us ( she flew back to Singapore by her self few days before us ). Usually Christine and Tassya were sharing Sonnie among them upon making the milk bottle and feeding him. Looking after the orphans can so much fun and enjoyable to do . Another blessings for us every August has been age increaments for my daughter Christine ,my wife and for my self. We shared August for our birthday celebrations. We made the birthday cakes with the kerosene heated oven our selves at the orphanage.
Our library will be called as ” Bolelebo ” library , a name that each Timorese knowing it very closely. It is the name of a local song which describing their love to their home town ( regardless in a good shape or not but to love it is mandatory . That is what the song is all about ). The library is situated in the front part of the orphanage’s ground. We have done most of it but still need few days to install its tiles, windows and doors ( while the painting job can be your if you like ha ha ha ). I hope that we will be having enough books soon so that we can start the library . The library will be used also for showing some educational films such as sanitation matters, malaria prevention , TB prevention and family planning etc. We believe that only through education we can reach higher goals.
Replies: 1 Comment
on Tuesday, August 29th, trickey said
God bless your heart, Mr. Soehardi. You and your wife are a blessing to the unfortunates in Kupang and its surrounding area.