Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Children of East Timor
These are some of the faces I can't forget as I sleep in my very comfortable bed; shower with running water which I haven't had to heat or use in a bucket; flush my western toilet; eat whatever I feel I would like; and work at a job I mostly enjoy so I can save some money to look after my family. These kids won't experience most of what I enjoy as even getting enough to eat is a problem in East Timor. I didn't take photos of the worst cases of disease and malnutrition as I was busy working with the medical clinic and trying to help.
The photo with all the children on the road shows them walking home from school. They are the lucky ones as they are able to attend a school with a roof and may have a desk and a book to write in. They are close to Dili and the further away from Dili you are, the less chance you have of this. In the mountains I saw a lot of kids with malnutrition and many I treated won't survive as they were too ill and malnourished. The photo of the child with her father is typical of some of the children I was working with and a medical visit and free meal once a month is not enough.
The kids near the beds with mosquito netting are at an orphanage which has been built and equipped by Australian NGO groups and the kids were happy and reasonably well-fed. They may not be orphans but more likely their families gave them up as they couldn't feed them.
These two little jackets are some of the clothes I've had donated and will keep some kids warm when they receive them. They need all the help they can get as lack of food and warmth will mean they are less likely to survive. Now you can see some of the reasons why I can't turn my back on these kids.