Completion of My Visit to the 13 Municipalities of Timor-Leste (Part 2)

By: VZ from Dili, Timor-Leste.

A day at an old chapel, Ainaro villa, Ainaro, 2017

7. Ainaro – Ainaro Municipality

The word Ainaro is a derivative from the Mambae expression ai naru means ‘tall tree’. Ainaro municipality located in southwest part of the country, generally regarded as the coldest municipality in Timor-Leste due to it is located uphill and close to mount Ramelau, the tallest mountain in Timor-Leste. Ainaro is also known for its fertile land that actively produce vegetables, beans, flowers and coffee production by its farmers. My first time visit to Ainaro in 2018 last was realized during my return trip from Covalima to Dili. Along the way is full of green scenery view, landscape full of green hills, mountainous views, grass field and serene house along the street in Ainaro villa town. The city also has many Portuguese and Indonesian historical building remarks. Mambae is also one of main dialect spoken widely with Tetun and Indonesian language are widely understood. The municipalities also has interesting pattern of cultural traditions and historical places to explore especially as it becomes one of historical shelter during Timor-Leste resistant combatants during struggle of independence. The municipality has 4 post-administrative which are Ainaro vila, Hato-udo, Hato-builico and Maubisse. It took 3 to 4 hours to reach Ainaro from Dili and one has to pass by Aileu municipality beforehand.

Dom Boaventura Statue in Luak, Manufahi, 2017

8. Same -Manufahi Municipality

I first time visited this municipality in 2017 on a field trip and mesmerized by the beautiful scenery along the way there. Curvy roads, high steep hills, serene city, fresh cold air. Same is the capital of the municipality and the municipality name Manufahi according to local tales was modified version of the original word in Mambae ‘Maun Fahe‘ means brothers went apart according to local tale that once upon a time there were 5 brother who have to parting ways from their home. What fascinated me most about Same city is the story of Don Boaventura, a local king and regarded by most as hero for his resistance movement during The Great Rebelllion in 1910-1912 against Portuguese colonialism. The statue of Dom Boaventura located in a village named Luak, 20 minutes away from Same city. The city has interesting cultural and historical context to explore with local people. Mambae is also one of main dialect spoken widely with Tetun and Indonesian language are widely understood. The municipality has 4 post-administrative which are Same, Fatuberliu, Alas and Turiscai. It took around 8 to reach Same city from Dili and one will pass by Aileu municipality and Maubisse post-administrative of Aileu beforehand.

The chapel of Black September massacre in Suai, Covalima, 2018

9. Suai – Covalima Municipality

On my first visit to Suai city, I was very excited and intrigued to figure out the city and in particular to see the local chapel where the 1999 Black September massacre happened. It was one of the horrific story of massacre happened to Timorese civilians during the announcement of result of East Timor referendum in 1999. On my arrival, I rushed to see this place first and accompanied by a local guide from the hotel I stayed in. It is an old rustic chapel and some of the windows have been broken but inside was still functional to be used by local people to held catholic church activities. It was in this church that during the civil unrest, local people came to evacuate to this chapel that located uphill guided by four priests (three Timorese and one Indonesia priest) trying to protect them but local the militias came and shooting the civilians including the priests and burnt the chapel. Though the chapel was then renovated, its rustic look and serenity inside tells a lot of untold memories. Suai is one of post-administrative of Covalima Municipality and this municipality located in southwest part of the country.

The municipality borders the Timor Sea to the south, the municipality of Bobonaro to the north, Ainaro to the east, and the Indonesian province of Nusa Tenggara Timur to the west. Suai city located in coastal area and the weather is hot during the dry season. However, the Suai Loro beach was nearby and is beautiful to visit with precaution not to bath at the beach or go closer as there are warning of crocodile existence around the water. The sea around Suai is southern sea regarded by Timorese as Tasi Mane means male sea due its loud and resonance sea). The municipality has interesting cultural diversities in its tradition, local arts and beliefs.

The municipality has 6 post-administratives consisted of Fatululic, Fatumean, Fohorem, Zumalai, Maucatar, Suai, and Tilomar.  Tetun Terik, Kemak and Bunak are main dialect while Tetun and Indonesia are also widely uunderstood. Cova Lima municipality also regarded as the furthest municipality to reach from Dili as one has to pass by the curvy road of Aileu and Ainaro to reach Suai city during eight to nine hours trip with car or public trasnport from Dili. Nowaday, one can reach Suai city with ZEEMS flight (a CESSNA type plane) which costs $ 41 to $51 USD flies once a day from Monday to Saturday from Dili with duration of around 35 minutes. Suai has got a new airport build and planned to accommodate the petroleum and gas mining research and activity there. 

Gentlemen’s Hangout in Maubisse.

Two men on sunbathing chat in Maubisse, Timor-Leste

‘My Brother’

‘Yes’

‘What a beautiful morning, is it not?’

‘Yeah. It is indeed.’

‘The sun rays are nicely warm.

‘Yeah. It is.’

‘Let’s do sunbathing with these lovely babies of ours.’

‘Sure, my brother. They will love it.’

‘My dear brother…’

‘Yes.’

‘Something is bothering me.’

What is it? Do tell me. 

‘I received a news that a relative from my wife’s family has just passed away.’

‘Oh poor you… Sorry to hear that. So why it bothers you?’

‘I do not have enough money to submit for my family clan’s contribution. May I ask you to lend me some? Please do help me’

‘Oh man… No worry. I’ll see what I can do for you later. But now, let us enjoy this beautiful sunbathing first.’

Maubisse (Timor-Leste), September, 2017.

Nina’s Death

Monday night, at around 8 pm

Nina just passed away

After hospitalized for seven hours

For drinking certain milliliters of poison 

From a bottle of  battery water.

The medicals tried their best

But ended up unsucces.

‘Nina passed away?’ The father asked. 

‘My Nina passed away?’  The mother asked.

‘No, this is impossible!’

‘This cannot be!’

‘Ninaa, our beloved Ninaa…No…’

‘You cannot do this to us, your parents. 

You cannot leave us like this, oh my dear, my only beloved daughter. 

How can you  do this to us, my dear?’ 

‘Lord, have mercy on us.’

***

Nina, an adolescent girl. She was the only girl among her two brothers sibling. She was on her last semester of bachelor at a local university in Dili. 

On the night of her death, the whole family and relatives were shocked. They said on her last day she did not appear to act odd at all. 

In the morning she still went to the nearby shop to buy electricity credit cards for pre-paid electricity at their house. Everything seemed normal.

She did not say anything strange or harsh to anyone either. She went on quiet and serene. They said she had been a quiet girl since she was a little girl and the most quiet girl in the family. 

Now, the family are all shocked and confuse on why she ended up her life that way. They said, they have no idea why Nina did so. She did not say anything at all during the day before she was hospitalized. 

Now, they said they do not know why at all.

But I do not believe them.

Nina has a secret she kept or the family has a secret to keep. 

Nina…

May her soul rest in peace.

Dili, 2 July 2018.

SOCCER AND TAXI DRIVER

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I rarely engaged myself in being fan of any soccer team of any sort of match but I love to feel the vibe. From real life to the virtual platform of social media people commenting, cursing, praising and satirizing each other’s favourite soccer team to express their feelings on how they see the performance of these soccer teams and thus creates an atmosphere of entertainment to chill up the life’s boredom routine.

This afternoon, I went home riding a yellow taxi. After telling the taxi driver the direction to my destination, our conversation then changed to how calm Dili city is today. To me it was just another normal calm Sunday in Dili. But to the taxi driver, it was because of Portugal soccer team lost last night after defeated by Uruguay team. I did not even know who this taxi driver is, and sometimes I felt uneasy to talk with taxi drivers as some of them may appear flirtatious or rude to woman passenger. Despite so, some are also appear to be polite to the passengers and I found this taxi driver to be one.

‘Thank God, Portugal lose, otherwise there will be a noisy convoy around the city the whole day and for sure it will add more traffic’ he said.

‘Yeah, it’s true’ I replied agreeing to his comment.

Then the conversation continued with me asking him which soccer team he supported, which team that he thought would made it to grand final and if he did some betting on every match. His responses flowed as smooth as the speed of his vehicle. Later, I realized that we already arrived to Villa-verde street, my destination.

I gave him the coins of his taxi fee and wished him luck for his bet. He will bet for Spain. After he left, I realized how amazing that soccer can engage two strangers into an interactive conversation.
VZ
Comoro-Villa verde (Dili-Timor-Leste), 1/7/2018