riding in from the airport on the asia foundation truck.
so i finally arrived in east timor and am settling into the rhythm of life here. the island is astonishingly beautiful, with its crown of green mountains fringed with white sand beaches. time seems to run in slow motion because of the bright and striking heat. the city itself is pretty diffuse: cement buildings interrupted by dusty lots, strands of magenta flowers or palm tree clusters, and the occasional IDP camp. last year's crisis generated upwards of 120,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), most of whom are still occupying makeshift tents strung up in clusters throughout the city.
a dili street.
an idp camp near my home.
i've been using these past few days to catch up on east timorese current events and learn about how the asia foundation (TAF) operates in-country. for the remainder of my time here, i will be visiting TAF's legal aid partners throughout the country and interviewing former clients, in hopes of gaining insight into their experiences, their problems, and the impact that legal or mediation assistance has had on their lives.
gety, the asia foundation's lead program officer, translated my first interview with rozinda, a lawyer working at the dili-based legal aid clinic Lembuaga Bantuan Hukum Ukun Rasik An.
on my first day here, i dropped by a beach outside of dili, where i saw the clearest, most brilliant sunset of my life: molten gold pouring down the horizon into a gentle, silver sea. i was kicking myself for having forgotten my camera in my jetlagged state, so the next day, i went back to the beach, only to come across a completely different kind of sunset. The tide was out, the sea was still, and the sun washed the entire sky in an incandescent red. i'm looking forward to enjoying many new and different skies during the next couple months...