Ostico Project Starts

The Education Department and Kirsty Sword Gusmao have come up with a list of schools on the “desperate” list. Simon, Jenny Coles (Kirsty’s right hand woman) and Agostinho Soares who is a Timorese advisor in the Prime Minister’s office, have been out to visit one of them in a little village called Ostico three hours outside the capital, Dili. I received Simon’s report yesterday. It’s not the neat, clean package we were looking for. And it looks like it would cost a lot more than the amount we were originally planning.

But after looking at the pictures and reading the report I knew there was no way I wanted to move past this and look for something else that fits our “criteria” better. The photos show a building that looks fit only for demolition, with no windows and a rotting ceiling. It is sitting in the middle of an unbroken stretch of red dirt broken only by a u shaped piece of pipe embedded in the ground which seems to constitute the playground. Twisted upside down on the pipe, dressed in faded and worn clothes is the most gorgeous child with a smile stretching from ear to ear.

I’ve just heard back from Graham and from Bruce, who is now part of the team. They feel exactly the same as Stephen and I. So – Ostico school is going to be our first project. I think we’ve also learnt our first lesson – things don’t come in simple and neat packages in countries that have been through the things East Timor has.