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Catholic College Sale - East Timor Immersion

26 November, 2015

Catholic College Sale East Timor group has returned home after a very rewarding, yet confronting immersion experience. 

The group of six Year 11 students and three staff began with a short stay in Darwin being hosted by O'Loughlin College. Here they met Bishop Eugene Hurley after Sunday morning Mass and he gave some wonderful insight into the need of the East Timorese and of our local indigenous people.

On arrival in East Timor they spent a couple of days exploring the capital city, Dili. The group met the staff at the Caritas office who made an official presentation and gave them a traditional tais to take home. “We had a wonderful conversation with the staff who all learn to speak English in the hope to work in Australia someday” said CCS Immersion Team Leader Ms Gabrielle Costin. Fernando, the director of Caritas, was one of the original 'boat people' arriving in Australia in the 1970's. He has now moved back to Dili to help improve conditions for the people in his home country.

The CCS group of nine travelled to Baucau where they stayed at Canossa Hostel and were hosted by Br Tony and the Marist community. “We had a wonderful guide named Sebastiou Santos (Sebas) who assisted us throughout the tour” said Ms Costin “He was a wonderful ambassador for his country.” 

While in Baucau the group visited the Marist Teachers College, the Canossa Convent and Oasis Centre for Education. When they went shopping they met the locals, washing in the public washing areas and at the beautiful Watebo beach. They participated in a traditional cooking class and made dinner at the Brothers’ house with the groceries they had bought at the local market. 

“The highlight of our trip was visiting Abafala primary school which is in the process of rebuilding using the funds we have raised over the past 3 years.” Ms Costin went on to explain “It was truly wonderful to see our money really making a difference to the lives of these people who have so very little.” The community of Abafala came out to meet the group and they danced and sang all afternoon and night. They shared a number of delicious meals with the school leaders and the parish priest who were all very grateful for the College’s contributions. “We left Abafala secure in the knowledge that our efforts certainly do make a difference” said Ms Costin.

The Immersion organisers gave thanks to Br Tony Clark in Baucau who organised their fantastic itinerary and supported them throughout the trip and also to CCS teacher Br Frank McIntosh who organises everything from this end. Without Br. Frank, this immersion would never happen.

Throughout the year, Year 7 students made hundreds of friendship bracelets and donated and packed many, many pencil cases for the students to take to East Timor. The students absolutely loved receiving these gifts and were very grateful for them.

Ms Costin and the group invite people to come and talk to them if they have any queries about the trip. “It is one we will never forget.”

CCS East Timor                 CCS East Timor - Dance