Friday, April 24, 2009

Morning has Broken over Maubisse

Bad Dreams

We launched a new media center for journalists in a town about one hour from Dili a few weeks ago. The new coordinator of the center called us a few days ago and said he needed a priest. We asked why. He said that he and the radio station manager, who operates the station out of the media center, have been having nightmares ever since the facility opened.

My first thought was maybe these guys were stressed out, but they both insisted they were not.

As it was explained to me by a Timorese colleague, when we installed a satellite dish at the media house for high speed internet -- it was something new to the community and some people might be jealous. He said many Timorese people are superstitutious and believe in black magic and the media center coordinator and radio station manager -- definitely believe someone has cast some black magic on them.

The only solution: gather the community together, bring in a priest, sacrifice a chicken and pour the chicken blood into the holy water. During the ceremony, the priest then sprinkles the blood-laced holy water around the building.

The chicken, itself, doesn't go to waste. It's the main course at the ceremony.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


A cemetery in the town of Maubisse, Timor-Leste. Some of the tombstones are works of art. This one was filled with tall grasses and beautiful wildflowers. Nearly every tombstone has a cross on top.