By Derarca O’Mahoney, Friends of Baguia
The Rotary Club of Hawthorn generously organised a 40ft Container to be shipped to Baguia. In September, at the Rotary DIK (Donations In Kind) Footscray warehouse Rotarians and Friends of Baguia members packed 240 school desks, 820 chairs, 122 rolls of material, 10 blackboards, 2 sewing machines, 154 boxes of donated goods – clothes, bedding, toys, school and kindergarten supplies.
Musical instruments and 2 sound systems were also donated by members of the Glen Waverly Uniting Church.
I flew to Timor at the end of October to organise the Container unloading and the logistical issues of getting so much gear safely up to Baguia. In true Timor-style all well-laid plans kept
constantly changing. However, in a two-day operation involving 5 large trucks and my 4WD packed to the hilt with valuable musical instruments and sound systems it all finally arrived in Baguia! The largest truck with all the palletised desks took 5 hours to travel the last 79kms of dreadful road from Baucau.
Then came the exhausting job of unloading it all – but there were Timorese smiles all round as each truck arrived over a six hour period – “Obrigada” – Thanks to Australia - was constantly being said to me!
The next week, local trucks were hired to take the desks and chairs from Baguia town to those schools that needed desks and had road access. I supervised loading and tried to restrict load sizes. It was a relief that despite an obvious lack of OH&S and schoolboys riding Timor-style on top of trucks – no one was hurt.
As always the strong Rufaguia villagers had to carry their 25 desks and 50 chairs up their steep mountain goat track for two hours.
Christmas has come early to Baguia – as the Rotary boxes had loads of brand NEW clothing: suits, skirts, jackets and fleeces! The Timorese wanted to know the Australian prices of items and their eyes were wide at the prices I quoted. Everyone was beaming smiles – that heavy fleece jacket on the right was so treasured by its new owner he wore it every day fully zipped up despite 33C humid temperatures!
Container loading team at Rotary DIK Footscray – Job finished!
A load of desks & chairs heading up to Aflocai Primary School
Leopoldina & Meagan with instruments
Leopoldina & teachers in new jackets & skirts from Rotary