Monday, May 28, 2018

Countdown to Timor-Leste

I've been fascinated by Timor-Leste for many years. The tiny country, just north of Australia, has had a fraught history. It was colonised by Portugal for hundreds of years, then occupied by Indonesia from 1975 to 1999. It was officially recognised as an independent nation in 2002. My interest was piqued firstly by horrendous news stories about the violence during the Indonesian occupation and transition to independence, then by reading and watching accounts such as the book A Woman of Independence by Kirsty Sword Gusmão and the film Alias Ruby Blade. I support Timorese charities such as the Alola Foundation and Maluk Timor and have also provided microfinance loans to Timorese entrepreneurs through Kiva.

Have I mentioned that I'm going to Timor-Leste in August? Just me (my partner doesn't want to go) and a small tour group. I'm excited about seeing the country and learning more about its history and culture. I booked my flights last week. To get in the mood I am trying to learn a few words of Tetum (the local language) and also experimenting with the cuisine ...

Last night we took an East Timorese lamb and tamarind stew to
our friends' place for dinner. (Pictured here with rice and bok
choy.) It was delicious!

Watch this space. As the countdown continues I'm sure there'll be more culinary experimentation ... apparently Timorese cuisine mingles Southeast Asian and Portuguese influences. Sounds like a wonderful combination.

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