Thursday, December 2, 2010

Falling farther and farther behind?

Great "what if" piece from Thomas Friedman -- actually he hits the nail on the head.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Independence Day (one of three)

Timorese President Horta, center with striped shirt, Prime Minister Gusmao, at right in blue shirt, greet the Indonesian band members just before they take the stage for an independence concert.
Sunday, November 28th, the Timorese people marked the date 35 years ago when Portugal gave the country its independence. It was short-lived, days later, Indonesian forces would invade and occupy the country for some 25 years. 

Timor's history leaves it with essentially three independence dates -- August 30, 1999, is referendum day -- the day Timorese people voted to be independent from Indonesia. On May 20, 2002, Timor-Leste became the first new nation of the 21st century -- after Indonesian troops finally withdrew.

Timorese Prime Minister Gusmao overseeing the water cleanup just before the independence day concert.
Sunday's anniversary was marked by a big concert in front of the government palace with a top name Indonesian band as the main headliner. Earlier in the day, a cloudburst left everything soggy -- including the concert venue. Up until the start of the concert, workers were busy with sump pumps trying to get all the water out of the way --and at one point, the Prime Minister, himself, Xanana Gusmao, was overseeing the cleanup.

Deafening Rain on the Roof

I remember, as a kid, standing in a huge tobacco barn and hearing the rain pound the metal roof -- the voices around me were lost to the rain striking metal. It felt cozy and scary.

I'm reminded of that day pretty regularly here in Timor -- where even as I write this -- the rain is pounding the metal roof of my house -- deafening.  Add incredible thunder and lightning -- the house shaking variety -- and it's scary. Yesterday afternoon about this same time, a lightning storm passed through and struck something not more than 50 yards away.

Today, the rumbling -- lasting up to 30 or 40 seconds at some stretches -- is accompanied by strong winds and rain -- coming down sideways -- pounding and cleaning the windows.

Outside, across the street, several people are drumming -- seemingly keeping a beat with the thunder, lightning and rain on the roof.

On the second floor patio -- outside my back door, Nilla is nursing her three new kittens. They seem not to notice the sounds around them -- only the warmth of their mother's stomach and milk.