While I was in Timor-Leste about this time last year, MAF International CEO Dave Fyock invited all programmes to submit proposals to obtain a small amount of funding (around US$5,000) for a community project along the lines of Covid relief. Having had a bit of experience writing such documents in my previous life, I talked with Aldo and we set about finding a project that we could do that fit the bill.
Los Palos is the most remote airstrip that we fly to in Timor-Leste - around 12-14 hours by road if the roads are passable (which during the wet season, are not). Aldo was aware of a school that was quite close to the airstrip that was struggling for funds and resources. There were not enough desks and chairs for all the students, so in many classes the children had to sit on the floor. We quickly realised that we couldn't solve this particular problem (other than bring it to the attention of people in positions within the government whom we knew), but we could help on a smaller scale by providing sanitation and learning supplies.
The proposal was accepted in November 2020 but with the change of personnel in programme, and the sheer magnitude of acquiring bags, masks, soap, buckets, school books, pens and pencils, it has taken many more months to complete.
Yesterday the Timor-Leste team loaded up the aircraft and flew out to Los Palos to deliver the supplies to the school! You can tell from the photos below how much they appreciated it. It never ceases to amaze me how far a relatively small amount of money can go, if we only try.
|Aldo and Nirmala along with 325 kg of supplies for the school|
|Unloading the aircraft at Los Palos|
|Transporting the supplies to the school|
|There are around 450 students at EBC Cristovão de Raça|
|Aldo presenting a MAF poster to one of the teachers|
|Pilot Nick Hitchins presents a student with her gift|
|Nick and Aldo present a box of supplies to one of the teachers|