“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”Desmon Tutu
I challenge anyone who goes to Timor-Leste not to feel the need to “do a little bit of good”.
A newly independent country, struggling to emerge from a war-torn past, the challenges seem enormous. Whilst the need for large scale programs to resolve infrastructure, poverty and education needs are all part of the big agenda, one can’t help but come into contact and be inspired by the local ‘little bits of good’ going on everyday.
Alana Monaci took that inspiration home to Australia and ‘did her little bit of good’ simply by fronting up and asking for help. No need to whip up a major campaign, it turns out all the help was right their in her own network/neighbourhood. Within no time, Alana had quietly hustled up nine perfectly good sewing machines and collaborated with Rotary Club to get them sent to Timor-Leste. Inspiring stuff.
This is Alana’s story….
Recently I spent a very enjoyable week with Karen and Jo on what could only be described as an emotional and frustrating wake-up call on the best and worst of humanity.
The effort of Karen and Jo to firstly bring people to this remote, challenging place and then to showcase all the good things East Timor has to offer needs to be applauded.
Visiting Atauro Island was part of this 7 day adventure.
I saw there how hopeful the Timorese are to have a better future, to provide more for their children than they had and to co-exist with everyone from tourists, fisherman, ex-pats now calling their island “home”.
I met a lovely older couple by the pool in Dili who had just come back from a hostel type accommodation where they bunkered down for 2 weeks straight, teaching the local women how to sew in an effort to better themselves and start small businesses and provide a brighter future for themselves and their children thru gaining skills.
This lady would have been in her 70’s and her husband maybe older, both freely giving up their time in a strange country to help women who otherwise would be helpless.
The man fixed old sewing machines that had been donated, attempted to fix small engines and do handwork to make their building safe to work in. Really inspiring folk.
When I came home from Dili to my warm bed, turned on Foxtel and made a cappuccino, I sat and thought about how little effort it would take for someone who has access to Facebook. Mothers and babies chatter sites and someone like me who can talk to just about anyone about something I’m passionate about…. So I started talking….. a lot.
People can be so wonderful when asked directly to help, I know…. I asked.
I put a little notice up on my local northern beaches website and asked people at my work, at my husband’s work, at my gym and then even went around my street and just asked …….
Do you have a sewing machine sitting in the cupboard or garage that you haven’t used for ages? Does it work? Will you use it? Ever again?????
And…. Lastly, can I have it please?
After all the weird looks and a little explaining, guess what, nearly everybody had one or their mum did or their friend did..
So…. I have 9 sewing machines now in my garage, 3 are brand new, still in boxes and the rest all work fine. Nearly all have the booklets and the threads and most have spare parts too.
I love people…..
Now to get them to Timor-Leste…. I called Rotary after some research and a lady called Sue is coming by next week to collect them all and get them to the sea container which leaves later in the year. She assures me that these are desperately needed and that “we” have changed the lives of 9 families.
I did a little bit…. she will do a little bit and if we all just do a little bit when we can for who we can this place we all share called Planet Earth will be so much better.
Bloody HUMANS are FANTASTIC – Be the best version of you when you have the opportunity. It sure feels great.
Here’s the wonderful Alana getting into the spirit of Timor-Leste.
Curious about Timor-Leste? Despite the dark past, resilience and hope shine through. I love the contrast of chaos and calm set to a backdrop of stunning natural beauty. Its a place to let each day unfold, to be generous in spirit, to challenge oneself, and to appreciate and understand a culture, a way of life, a destination, that is so different to our own.
Its not an easy place to travel to or to get around. Our Sharing Timor-Leste trip makes it easy, safe and fun. We do small groups only to keep it personal. All the details here.