Go to the city and end up in the river / Timor Leste

Go to the city and end up in the river / Timor Leste

The opening of the time of confinement must have left us with a more attentive gaze. We found a family living on the river bed. Naroman* is the woman who was trying to make a living by filtering sand from the river. The husband sleeps in the fresh air, outside the shack, even though he has asthma, and cannot work. They once migrated from the Railaco mountains to the city of Dili, the capital of Timor Leste, in search of a better life, or maybe just a life of peace and perhaps some anonymity. This would happen just after independence … many thought that Dili as the capital was a city full of opportunities. They settled in a place not far from the airport and started their life, which resulted in having 7 children. Today 4 children are living with their parents, the others are in the mountains … probably they were entrusted to be raised by others due to the difficulties.

And how did they get to the river? It seems that the land on which Naroman lived with her family belongs to the government, and they have simply been expelled. Like them there will be other families… We always wonder for Timor as well as for the rest of the world why the governments will not strive to develop the rural areas and prevent the exodus to the big cities. Perhaps this COVID 19 pandemic helps to reflect on this issue by seeing how it is the large overcrowded cities that are most affected.

Since the end of the confinement that has lasted about 3 months in Timor, the children come to our free school and Naroman comes to our nutrition center, there we have employed her in cleaning tasks that right now she is learning and we hope that this is the first step for her family to come out of the riverbed…

Community of Dili.

*not her real name