After driving down a dirt track for about an hour from the main town, crossing three rivers that didn’t have bridges, and only getting there because of the very professional off-road skills of our driver, we arrived at a field project in Fatumulau.
After gawking at the foreign amongst us for a while, the children came up to the car like it was a big novelty. They started scrawling pictures in the dirt on the side of the 4WD and playing with the rear view mirrors, scrambling to have a chance to stick their face up close to the glass. A few were jumping up and down to watch their reflection in the glass on the windows.
I don’t think they get that many visitors in this very small village (well, sub-village) who arrive in cars.
This is one very clear indication of the remoteness of some parts of Timor — another is that the majority of the children don’t know what the camera is or how it works. In most other places I’ve travelled or worked, kids will dash to have a photo taken and want to look at themselves on the back of the screen. Here, most of the kids in the villages don’t realise that they can look at themselves on the screens. Clearly, they haven’t been exposed to the digicam-wielding foreign hoards that have already conquered most of SE Asia in their eternal struggle to fit as many local kids into their Facebook profile pic as possible!
The main feature of the village was the cemetery, occupying the hill near the project centre. Other than that, it was just small houses and a big river.
I tried to Google the village when I got home to figure out the population. There’s no results on it for Google at all.