We have been trying for a long time to reach an agreement with the community of Hlalameta to build, together, a tank that will serve to deposit drinking water, both for the needs of our project as well as for this community.
Here in Timor, the rhythm of doing things is neneik-neneik which means: slowly slowly, i.e.; the "snail step", because until we get to the “hands on” phase we have to go through a series of meetings to reach an agreement regarding the project to be carried out and more meetings, still, to plan the details, the details, etc… anyway, an authentic mexican telenovela; they say you know when it starts, but as for the rest…anyway!
just to get an idea; I came to speak, on three different occasions, with the owner and son of the neighboring land, for as it is higher than ours by about 3 metros, we agreed that it was ideal to build the tank to ensure a higher pressure for the water outlet. After a lot of arguments we finally reached an agreement and I made a collaboration document, in triplicate, that should be signed by me, as a representative of the Viva Melhor Foundation, which supplied the water and the vast majority of materials for the construction of the pond., by the owner of the land that offered 3m² of the same, and by the village chief, as local authority, who undertook to ensure the necessary manpower to carry out this project. After signing and delivering the respective documents to the landowner's son, we agreed that in a few days he would try to sign the document., would take it to be signed by the suco chief and then he would give me a copy, so that each of the parties involved, in this project, keep a document of the respective agreement.
After approx. 30 dias, as the land owner's son didn't give me any documents, I decided that I couldn't waste any more time and spoke to the village chief's son to move forward and we agreed to form a work team made up of the land owner's son, by another young man who understands as a bricklayer and by two other young servants and we agreed that, the next day, we should meet, no local, to start our work.
The next day, only the two servants came and dug a part of the ditch for the foundation. When asking about the land owner's son they told me they didn't know anything about him. we next 3, 4 days no one showed up and only two weeks later they managed to complete the opening of the trench for the foundation and the soil plate. I appealed to the servants to warn both the young mason, as well as the son of the landowner so that the next day they started filling the foundation and fixing the iron structure for the construction of the pillars. The next day, the two servants and the mason appeared and when I asked about the landowner's son they replied that he was in a small village on the mountain to do a cultural ritual, with the family. This day, the work team managed to fill the foundation and fixed the reinforced iron as well.
to my great surprise, the next day, I was informed that the team could not continue the work, because the landowner had not authorized the construction of the tank, on your land. I moved, immediately, to the site and found the work team upset with this situation and the land owner inflexible in his determination not to recognize that he had given permission for the construction of the tank on his land. I was very intrigued and very angry, in my intimate, by the dishonest attitude of this man… I tried to remind him, through a translator, that on at least two separate occasions, when you were together with your son, we had agreed to jointly build this water tank on their land and twice they had accepted and he replied that they had never authorized this construction. Realizing that there was no point in insisting, I told him that if he no longer wanted to respect his word,, so I gave up on that plan and that I would build the tank on our land, but in this case the community no longer had access to water, due to the unevenness in which the same. As I saw that not even this final argument could dispel his stubbornness, so i decided it was the right time to leave the scene and i left in a mix of sadness, annoyance and bitterness thinking about dishonesty, in the lack of character and non-compliance with the word given that some people show...
I was really determined to build it on our land., but when thinking that in the future the community, to have access to water, should buy a pump to be able to push it and take it to their homes, so I thought we should find another solution and, together with the village chief's son, we found that the land next to that, where had we started this foundation, it was ideal to build the tank. We agreed that he would talk to the owner of that land and that he would then inform me about his answer.. A few days later he informed me that this gentleman had agreed and after a few more good days, finally, we met at the site to establish the exact place where we should build our long-awaited tank. after we talk, we established the clauses of our mutual agreement and I was responsible for writing the document of the collaboration agreement and handing it over to be duly signed by the parties involved. The next day, I made this document in triplicate and after it was signed by me, as a representative of our Foundation, I gave it to the village chief's son to give it to the landowner and the village chief to sign. A week later I called him to ask if he had managed to deliver the document and he replied that seidauk, what do you mean: not yet… I begged him to go to the mountain, our man's house, to obtain this signature as soon as possible to enable the beginning of our work, because this time I learned the bitter lesson and I didn't want to start any more work until we had the documents signed.
Another week has passed, I called the village chief's son again to find out how the situation was and when I realized that he had not resolved anything, still, I decided that I should make one last attempt with the first owner of the land to rule out this possibility forever., because in these last few weeks something in me was telling me that, perhaps, we could come to an agreement… and so it was!
the following sunday, together with my translator, We went to visit this gentleman and we found, also, your son with whom we had arrived, initially, to the first agreement. After reminding them of the two occasions when we had agreed on the plan to build such a tank on their land, I was very surprised to find that they were in agreement., but on the condition that his son be in charge of those jobs and he wanted me to pay him for his days of work, although our agreement provided for this work to be carried out free of charge by a team of community volunteers… Anyway, I understood that we wanted to offer the community access to the much-needed water, then I should condescend and make that commitment and, finally, after we agree, I asked them to sign the document and we agreed to start work the next day.
weeks ago, on a monday, started work, the landowner's son and two other boys. I asked him where was the community team he said he got and he said most were busy with their jobs, but that would appear in the following days. That week only one boy from the community showed up to help for a few days and last week, during 3 dias, one more came, to replace the first, and until the end of this week no one else showed up.
I understood that the community knew that I was paying the landowner's son to do this work and from then on no one else came to work., because they were waiting to receive some money, also. so i decided that, if I wanted the work to go forward, I should put my trusty boy in charge of the project., who is a carpenter, and who understands, also, construction.
the jaco, my right hand, guided the work and managed to do it together with Carlito, the son of the landowner, the slab and solder the iron to the plate frame. Today, finally, completed this preparatory stage and Monday will be the big day for us to fill the first floor sign.
One of the most important things I learned, on my journey through Timor, he was, undoubtedly, the conclusion to which Thomas Edison has arrived: “Our greatest weakness is in giving up. The surest way to win is to try one more time.”.