“I hadn’t ever really considered travelling to Timor-Leste when day dreaming about the holidays I would take, but when a friend said, “Hey, want to do a 5 day mountain bike race with me in East Timor?” I said “Heck yes”. I have to admit I was ignorant of almost everything to do with Timor-Leste, it simply hadn’t registered in my mind. I knew vague things, like oil disputes and that there was a violent history, the Balibo 5, but I hadn’t ever taken the time to learn about this country. Heck, I didn’t even realise it was a country separate from Indonesia and my ignorance in this aspect really humiliated me. I was determined to change this during my visit.
… I’m privileged. I have always known how privileged my life has been, and I have felt different levels of appreciation and guilt for it over time. The struggle of the Timorese people, the hopefulness you feel from them about their future, I’ve never had to experience anything on the same level as these people. I’ve never questioned the food on my table, the roof over my head, I’ve never experienced violence such as this, never been forced from my home or to fight for my independence. In the face of it all, these people are still welcoming, still smiling, still happy. Of course there are deep seated issues with PTSD and mental illness after such a horrific and violent history, but the people keep on keeping on.
Partilho o testemunho de Eliza Middleton, cidadã australiana que em viagem de bicicleta por Timor Leste nos revela o seu reconhecimento, respeito e compreensão pela estóica resistência e perseverança do povo timorense, em: https://elizamiddleton.wordpress.com/2016/09/29/touring-timor-leste/. Thanks for your post Eliza.