Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I've moved into a new house, which I absolutely love. But there's no internet installed there yet, and I find myself falling shamefully behind on all things digital. This will hopefully be rectified soon.

In the meantime, here are some highlights of my new accommodations:

- It's on a huge compound belonging to an extended Timorese family. Most compounds here in Timor are specifically for "malay" (foreigners), so this is a fun anomaly.

- In fact, the compound is more like a village. There are pigs, chickens and roosters, dogs and cats, a water bison or two...

- The landlord lives in a house barely better than a shack, right in front of me. I walk down my beautiful tiled front steps and land on his shack-y porch.

- The landlord is the "xefe suco" - which translates to mayor of the neighbourhood. So interesting characters are always wandering around the property waiting to talk to him. This also means that I am very safe, because people don't really want to mess with him or his house.

- His 19-year old son is actually managing my house, and is happy to have a new friend around. So now I have a window into life as a Timorese teenage boy.

- Every other night, at least, the electricity goes out in our village-compound. So we all sit on our porches or balconies and entertain ourselves, chatting with each other or playing on our mobile phones. It's too hot to wait inside, and plus, I'd not want to give up the opportunity to stare out at the stars in the sky overlooking palm trees sticking framed by the lights of neighbourhoods that do have electricity.

- The most telling moments, however, were when - two days in a row - I awoke in the morning and went to make my morning coffee. Looking out the kitchen window I saw a boy, one of the landlord's sons, squatting on a rock, playing on a mobile phone. He was carefully positioned over the rock so his behind was hanging out. As he sat there playing on his mobile phone, the poop slowly came out. And there was a pig hovering around, anxiously waiting his chance!

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