Our land is situated right on the border with the neighboring municipality.
A long time ago, the old border between the two municipalities had been fixed about 50 meters before a large stream that passes right next to our land, but two years ago a new registration law was implemented and then, due negotiations between the presidents of the two municipalities, came to the conclusion that the border between them became the Ribeira Grande.
Some day, we went to our land to set the border markers and when we approached the western part, we received a visit from 7, 8 people from the neighboring community, Broad, who lives near the big river. They intended that we should retreat about 50 meters inside our property to respect the old goal. I tried to explain to them several times that, according to the new cadastral law, the current border between the two municipalities was established as Ribeira Grande, but to my complete surprise, the more I tried to explain to them, the more they were in favor of the old…
I explained to them, also, that according to Timorese law we can set our borders to 25 meters from the river and in the event of any flooding, the Timorese state will bear the damage caused, or if we preferred to approach below this distance, In this case, we would bear any damage in full.. After many failed attempts, I came to the conclusion that continuing with this was effectively: “break gravel”, as the Portuguese say, and I proposed to them, in the near future, a meeting with the two village chiefs, de Hlalameta and de Lauala, so we can clean up this mess.
Not day after, I presented the matter to the head of the Lauala village, who has the highest power in their respective area, who told me that he knew about the new cadastral law and the agreement between the two municipalities to establish the border between them: the big river. Assured me that we could continue, quietly, our works, because he would have to speak to the community to inform them about this. A few days later, my father-in-law together with the two young Timorese who work with us, They went to our land with the purpose of placing some stakes and extending a wire so that we could dig the holes and fix the posts in concrete, to surround the same. Again, received a visit from some neighbors who, very angry, pulled up and threw the stakes away and one of them, very nervous, He even picked up a stone and made a gesture of throwing it at my father-in-law!
The next day, There was Daniel, once again, on the way to Liurai's house, that means: the king of the respective area, formerly recognized as the predominant king/chief of tribe/family, currently called head of the juice (locality), to try to solve this problem again…
This time, after telling him what happened, I asked him for the favor and even insisted that we meet together with the head of the village of Hlalameta and the community of Lauala, on our land, so we can solve this problem, as we wanted to move forward with the work on our project as urgently as possible.
Finally, The long-awaited day of our meeting arrived and only the chief of the village of Hlalameta appeared, some people came from the village of Lauala, the former owner of our land and other people from the village of Hlalameta. After many discussions and threats from some people in Lauala towards those in Hlalameta and vice versa,, due to the determination of the head of the village of Hlalameta, who wanted to impose himself to establish the border as close as possible to the river,, I decided that I should intervene to put an end to this whole scandal and to please both Greeks and Trojans, I gave up on the village chief's proposal and accepted that the dividing line marker be established very close to the point where the people of Lauala wanted.
Suddenly, everyone calmed down and everyone agreed with the final decision!
Allow me to open a parenthesis to share information regarding the two neighboring communities. Although they both speak a mother tongue called Mambae,, Those from Hlalameta who belong to the Aileu district speak a different Mambae from that used by those from the Lauala community, belonging to the district of Ermera.
We have established a working agreement with the head of Hlalameta village, area to which our land belongs, to hire some young people from the community who will help us with the work to be carried out. We have a list with 25 people who will work in teams 4, in a rotating system, during 20 dias. They exist, still, two other Timorese, of our trust, with an employment contract and have been working with us for a few months.
As the land where we developed our project is located so close to the Lauala community,, although not belonging to the district of Aileu, we thought it would be good to offer, also, the same opportunity for this community to earn their daily livelihood, at least for some time.
But, when talking to some young people from the Hlalameta community about this, I understood that they did not agree that those from Lauala were working on our project, as in the past there have been several delicate situations between the two communities, regarding certain jobs that were in Lauala and when young people from Hlalameta asked to occupy these jobs they were refused, because they considered that they did not belong to that district and that they should ask for work in their district.
However, in our family council, we decided we should move forward, offering the same opportunity to both communities, with the hope that in the future we could help in reconciliation and reestablishing a good relationship between them…
I had a meeting with the head of the Lauala village and presented him with our work proposal for the Lauala community, asking you to make a list of a representative from each family in the respective community who would like to work with us, in this rotating work 20 dias.
pasts 3 months, some days ago, I finally received the long-awaited list with 21 people, da comunidade de Lauala, ready to start their rotating work.
Returning to our “conversation”, the next day, hopeful that the problems are over, however, with a certain mixture of apprehension to see what would happen to us further, we began to place our stakes again, extending the wire and digging the holes that would house the concrete pillars to surround our land in the future.
This time, no one bothered us anymore and since then, until the date, we are at peace!
Has been some time, since the first team of the Hlalameta community began working, 3 young people and a middle-aged man, and we are developing, little by little, each stage of our project…
All this time, the people of Lauala, observed our activities from afar, because some were, I believe, embarrassed by the scandal and confusion they had caused and others thought, obviously, that after what happened we no longer wanted to work with them…
Some day, during the short rest period 10 minutes we offer to workers, two people approached from Lauala and I took this opportunity to speak to our new team, the second at that time, about the rules and system of how our work operates. I invited, these two people were also present at our meeting and I made a point of highlighting that the basic operating rules of our team were based on mutual respect, mutual help, unity and a spirit of friendship manifest both among those of the same community as well as between one community and another, because our desire was that in the near future the Lauala community would also come to work with us.
Really, It is really gratifying to see the contentment and satisfaction of these poor souls when we also give them the opportunity to earn, for a while, your bread. On the other hand, we are sad and feel helpless in not being able to do more for them., for a while, as we are aware of our financial limitations and the limited volume of work…
On the other hand, the people of Lauala, who always picked on us because of the border of our land, they felt very uncomfortable when they learned that we had not chosen to pay them in kind and that we continued to accept them to work with us. At my point of view, the most embarrassing situation happened when the person himself, who had threatened my father-in-law with a stone, needed 15 bags of cement and I agreed to sell them, at a minimum price, and I even made a point of taking them with our truck to their house, at no additional cost. You should see our little man's face!!!
I had the opportunity to read some books, by various writers, but what impressed me most, in an incredible way, was and continues to be the Holy Bible, because for me it is an inexhaustible source of wisdom that comes from Above, of precious teaching lessons that come from such a remote past, some from the year 1500 AC, but they are so current, applying perfectly to our everyday needs, from the __ century 21! Maybe many skeptics, or atheists, when you read this, they will turn up their nose, saying: “Hum, the Bible, that old and outdated book!” However, allow me to share with you one of the passages from this wonderful book, which is one of my favorites: Romans chapter 12, verse 9: “Love is not fake. Hate evil and hold fast to good.” Verse 14: “Bless those who persecute you; bless, and do not curse.” Verse 17: “Return no one evil for evil; look for worthy things, before all men.” Verse 18: "If possible, how much depends on you, have peace with all men.” Verse 19: “Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but give way to the wrath of God, because it is written: Mine is revenge, I will repay, says the Lord.” Verse 20: "Before, if your enemy is hungry, give him something to eat; if you are thirsty, give him a drink; why, By doing this you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Verse 21: “Don’t let yourself be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” I believe, fully, that if these teachings were understood and experienced, our world would be totally different… it would be completely revolutionized!
During our experience on this island, the Timorese taught us something fundamental: it takes so little to be happy!!!
Then, that's it, you read it well! We need, in reality, of so few things to be truly happy, because the more life aspirations we have, the more we complicate our simple existence and we live under a continuous feverish impulse, in having more and more things and increasing the demands of our living, believing that happiness consists in acquiring money, assets, fama, or power…
The Jewish writer, Clarice Lispector, I was very surprised by this reality, which applies so well to the way our little Timorese friends approach life: "The happiest people do not have the best things, They know how to make the best of the opportunities that come their way.”
What impressed me most, in this people, was the ability to be content with the few things you have… In the simplicity of the life they lead, they know how to savor, really, everything it offers them, because they have something that we lack and that is so essential: know how to be content with little and be more grateful to God!