Club Meeting May 1 2019 Timor Leste


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Last Wednesday was an evening meeting that found a gathering of Rotarians from many Rotary Clubs and Districts joining our club at Cilantro to listen Rob Hudson Founding Chair of the Balibo House Trust and his Commitment to the Balibo Trust. Linda O’B was chairperson for the evening and invited Pres Graham Reid RC Port Melbourne to offer us Invocation, John M. to present The Loyal Royal Toast. He did so with a quote from Henry Lawson.
Grant took us to Timor-Leste. Timor-Leste is a country on the Island of Timor at the Southeast Asia, North of the Timor Sea and is part of the Indonesian Archipelago. Evidence suggests that humans were there 42,00 years ago. Portuguese Traders arrived between 1509 and 1511. The territory officially became a Portuguese colony, know s Portuguese Timor with Lifau as its capital. The capital was moved to Dili in 1760. The Dutch colonized the rest of the island and the surrounding archipelago that is now known as Indonesia. The border was formally decided with the Treaty of Lisbon in1859. In February 1945 the Japanese invasion and counter guerrilla campaign with Timorese and Australian forces began with East Timor retuning to Portugal. The Portuguese started to abandon the colony in 1974. In 1975 Civil war erupts and a declaration of Independence was declared by Fretlin forces in November. On 7/12/1975, Indonesian forces invaded and annexed East Timor with the murder of 5 Australian journalists in Balibo. Indonesia left East Timor in 1999. The capital is Dili with a population of 240,000. Grant asked us to be upstanding to toast President Joaquim Soares and the members of the Rotary Club of Dili, Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, District 9550. The Club has successfully chartered 3 Interact groups and meet at the Timor plaza Hotel at6.30 pm. Thank you Grant for the introducing this club as a special addition to our meeting that was concentrating on the Balibo project.
Chairperson Linda explained how we send the toasted International club a signed certificate wishing them well and invited everyone in the room to sign as well. We do get replies and the warm wishes we send are well received. Linda continued by welcoming our guests and thanking the members of RC Port Melbourne for changing their meeting date to be with us. Linda welcomed DG Bronwyn Stephens and husband Mark Stephens Chair of the 9800 District grants, our Guest Speaker Rob Hudson, CEO Brotherhood of St. Laurence and as mentioned Founding Chair Balibo Trust. Linda also made welcome David and Jamie Dippie, Erica Peck and Roger Thornton (RC Packenham), Jackie Reid (RC Keilor), Julia Toplis (RC Keilor) and Pres. Ian and members of RCBMC. She continued to explain that Cilantro is part of Holmesglen TAFE Hospitality Cooking and Bakery Le Cordon Bleu School and the students had their “L” plates so we should forgive any shortcomings. (There weren’t).
Rob’s commitment and enthusiasm for the Balibo is outstanding and he certainly had a captive audience. He began by showing us a pictorial overview of from a very sad and ordinary kindergarten next to a pigsty with pig swill without a fence and with rusted seesaw and slide, no water, no sanitation, nowhere for visitors to stay and no school for older children, no sanitation, no dentist, little to no work for locals and no fresh produce. With Rotary help all this has changed. Thanks to David Dippie, Convener for Balibo and Ricardo Krauskopf, RC Port Melbourne amongst other Rotarians these visions have been commenced and realized. In a way thanks to the Balibo 5 a trust was set up to remember these brave very young journalists who lost their lives in 1975 the terrible event was chosen as a catalyst to turn Tragedy into Positive. This impact of violence lost 5-6 siblings, families and East Timorese and he survivors joined hands to make good. It began with the Police station and turned it into a kindergarten. With the help from our club the Kindergarten was extended and rebuilt to enroll 80 children. There is a wonderful playground. Rotary presence and impact is well felt with a Dental Clinic with Australian Dentists offering time and training for locals to be able to take over. There are 7 dentists with 4 million people. The Balibo Fort Hotel is a tribute to Ricard who gave guidance, education and opportunity for young people who need jobs. There are 15 people who are hotel trained. Added to this there are other tourist attractions giving the young more job opportunities such as walking trails and veteran trails. Ricardo with his forward thinking, realized that things need to grow so that the hotel kitchen can have fresh produce. The kitchen was helped by “Advantage” Kitchens.  The next school happened because everyone including children have to walk everywhere. Balola was more or less, closer to other villages than Balibo. Only 70% of children go to school because the school is too far and there is much for the children to do such as collecting of firewood and water. If a country is to succeed one needs a well-educated society. After the original by Indonesia the question of what is needed was asked and The Balibo Trust said that a school will be built and Rotary got funds together to build schools, playgrounds and paid for uniforms. This could not have been accomplished without the aid of the Rotary Clubs of BMC, Port Melbourne, Keilor, Packenham, Geelong and Plymouth New Zealand all doing their bit. The third school is at Rai-Luli, began in an old school with dirt floors and looked very much like a milking shed without toilets.  The toilets in the schools have become community toilets. Now it is a stimulating space and environment. The need for good teachers with the right professional standard and who can think creatively so books can be properly used instead of being locked as they were previously to avoid them being stolen. In September 2019 for the first time year 9 students from Melbourne will visit and gain knowledge of what has developed. This is a very exciting project and Rob seemed very pleased with this idea. In closing his presentation Rob showed us the film made as a living memorial to the Balibo 5 and Shirley Shackleton who was at the opening of one of these schools. There are many projects in the offing with Sky-High technology to produce 10,00 litres of water per day, to get a quad bike and a 4wheel drive to collect water to bring to the villages. Thank you Rob for bringing this impressive story and its dreams and projects to our attention. Starting with a photograph of a dilapidated kindergarten noticed by the then Community Director and the then President in Rob Hudson’s former Bentleigh office the dream for Balibo has grown to gigantic proportions. Out of Tragedy Something Good Can Come. Thank you Rob for giving us such an amazing insight to such a tremendous outcome. We wish you and the trust fund and all its members and volunteers mush more success for the many projects that will make life so very meaningful for people of Balibo, Beola and Rai-Luli.
DG Bronwyn then came to the podium in order to present Ricardo a special scarf and to read a commendation. The $500,0000 Hotel opened and it provides employment opportunities together with other projects which are completed.  She continued to say that on behalf of the Rotary Club of Dili to acknowledge the amazing work that Ricardo has done she presented him with a double Ruby Paul Harris Fellowship. We were all upstanding to congratulate this very innovative Rotarian. Greg O’S told us that he has been involved with Holmesglen for 20 years.  There are 500 Le Cordon Bleu students and 500 students in the Cookery and Bakery school. The Le Cordon Bleu is elite international cookery which has French origins. Holmesglen is very honored to have gained the opportunity to teach this school of cookery. Greg wished to acknowledge the teachers of both Le Cordon Bleu and the Cookery School. Cilantro is a fully fledged restaurant and the multi-course meal we were served was a direct proof of this. Lauretta and Kristen helped their students serve us in a first class manner and as Greg stated he felt that their “L” plates could be discarded.
Pres. Graham (Port Melbourne) thanked Linda for our hospitality and the welcome received and further congratulated Ricardo on the Double Ruby PHF. David Dippie commented that there were 3 different districts represented in the room and how working together makes it possible to build great dreams and to build new schools. He (David) being the District Chair for Grants reminded us that there are grants available and we could start the ball rolling and make Magic happenPres. Ian closed the meeting after reminding us of our Market Duties. He thanked us all for coming, wished us a good week and to BE THE INSPIRATION Zilla (Bulletin Reporter)

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