Hello everyone.  I wanted to share a little about my recent TDY to Timor Leste.  Timor Leste is an island in the Indonesian island chains, north of Australia.  A group of us from the Pacific Air Force went there from 15-25 September.  Our mission was to provide civil engineering, dental, optometry, and general medical care.  Before I got to Timor, I got to spend the day in Guam.  Very nice island.  Never considered being stationed there before, but I would be willing to now.  We them crammed into a C-130 for a 6 hour flight.  Now it sucks flying commercial for that long, imagine sitting in a cargo plane, about 18 inches between the person in front of you, loud as you can imagine, no in flight services or reclining seats?  It sucked going there and coming back.


We landed on the island and were warmly greeted by the Timor military and Bangladesh police.  They really appreciated us being there.  Our living and eating arrangements weren't ideal, 2-4 to a small room, no hot water, no AC, no electricity during certain hours, chicken, fish and rice for every meal, not your ideal living but it was certainly better than the people we helped.  The country is very poor, and many people do not have running water, electricity, large homes, the things we take for granted.  But talking and interacting with the people, they seemed very happy for what they had, happy for life, and grateful we were there.  Timor Leste is a fairly new country, only since 2002.  For many years they were bullied by Indonesia.  You can read more information on the country here:  https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/tt.html


We spent one week out at our sight seeing the people.  For 8 hours a day, we educated and treated people, preformed dental tool extractions, gave medications and glasses to those who showed up.  During the five days we saw over 4700 men, women and children.  Seeing these people made me very humble, as they hardly had anything but were some of the happiest people I have met.  Kids would have a flat soccer ball and would have a blast playing.  I had translators with me the entire time, and they taught me a lot about their country and culture, and I taught them some of ours (I might have corrupted them just a little). 


My main job was education and patient screening.  I taught the people proper hygiene, cleanliness, proper food and water storage and cooking, things we don't have to think of.  Most of the people did not know this, and the sad part is most of them are not able to do what was taught.  Again, not having running water means they have to acquire this, usually by traveling long distances to collect what they can for a length of time.  When they get their water, it's usually for drinking, so hand washing is seldom done, many would only shower once a week, if that, and laundry would maybe be done every two weeks. 


I had a great experience.  The people were so friendly and grateful for us, and the biggest thing was it really made me feel appreciative for what I have.  I complain is my water is cold in the shower sometimes, if my food sucks, or the room I'm living in is too hot.  But you know what, some people do this on a daily basis, for their entire lives.  But they are grateful that they are an independent country and happy for what they have.  I met some good people I worked with, taught some of the kids how to throw a football, got schooled in some soccer, but it was so much fun and rewarding, two weeks I won't forget.


I attached some pictures with this.  I think the file is too long, so if you want more I can send them.  Maybe I'll post some on Facebook.  Also, here is a link from the Aussie media, who was with us:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtFhvVS3xdU&feature=share.  Sorry it's long, just wanted to share.  Hope everyone is doing well.