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Ossoluga Seisal



Ossoluga, East Timor

When children finish primary school at Macalaco and Lequeracabu'u Schools (which we built in 2010 and 2011), Ossoluga Secondary School is where they should continue their education. However, until recently, the school was a windowless, dirt-floored shack which was totally useless in the wet season. The poor condition of the school meant that many children had to board in Baucau (often in terrible circumstances). Other children simply didn't attend secondary school at all.

In 2014, the Rural Schools Development Program, built a new school at Ossoluga which comprises three classrooms, a teacher's room and toilets. The school was officially opened on October 11, 2014 amidst great celebrations. The children and villagers from Macalaco and Lequeracabu'u schools walked the hour to Ossoluga for the ceremony and danced and sang with everyone from Ossoluga. It was a relaxed, incredibly happy ceremony that had all of the visitors up and dancing with the Timorese. The local ladies created an extraordinary feast featuring buffalo and a range of desserts which included a creme caramel which would make the French proud. All of it without an oven or electricity. After the official celebrations the Australian teenage girls who came with us brought out lots of long skipping ropes and had a great time jumping with the local kids. Some of the adults joined in as well. It was a great day.

This was what a major donor wrote after visiting the school when the keys were handed over:

" It’s a beautiful ‘room with a view’ is the thought that ran through my mind when I saw Ossologa school for the first time. Within seconds I was transformed from nearly shedding a few tears to being totally uplifted. It had been very emotional to see the students’ and community’s welcoming arch, until the school came into view. We were there for the final inspection, payment and handing over of the keys.

As we inspected the classrooms and staffroom, the teacher in me surfaced. I thought of the many rooms I had taught in over the years and how uplifting it is to teach in a pleasant one. I kept thinking how wonderful it would be to teach or learn in these rooms with their views of tree tops and the Matebians. As well, despite the day being hot and humid, it was so pleasant inside – the building’s design and siting allows capture of breezes and light.

When my attention turned to the walls I could only think of what a joy it would be to display students’ work on those large high walls. I’d really, really enjoy teaching in rooms like these. I can only imagine how fantastic it will be for students and teachers alike to switch from their dark, deteriorating rooms with their uneven, dusty earthen floors, palm frond walls and re-cycled metal roof to their beautiful school with a view. And switch they did that very afternoon.

Now there is an added impetus to do that long daily walk more regularly and for more years, to and from a school which is so beautiful. It must change some students’ lives."

Before photos
Outside school   Ossoluga school    
Classroom floor  

Ossoluga classroom

School bell   Local villagers
After photos    
The building team and Agostinho, our project manager
(checked shirt on right)
  One classroom
Inside the school before the furniture arrived   The amazing view from the classrooms
Ossoluga School (after)   Honour Guard of Welcome
Inside a classroom   Agostinho, Graham and Kris outside the new toilets
Little Girl Presenting Tais to Guests   Kris dancing with a Timorese lady
Timorese children performing   Everyone dancing
Timorese children performing   The Opening Ceremony Feast
Kris skipping with the girls

Learn more about the Ossoluga project. See latest project photos and updates throughout the project





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