After the Manatutu distribution, we headed into the mountains to Hatubelico with Dr. Dan Murphy, an American doctor who has been running a clinic in East Timor since 1998.
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The day started with a drive into the mountains to Maubisse, where we stayed the night at a Portuguese hill station above the clouds (with hot running water!), then a four hour drive into the mountains, on largely unpaved roads.
Jose Ramos-Horta always packs the back of his car with clothes for the children in the villages. With the sound of our car approaching up the hill, children would run down and line the road to see who was coming their way. We would stop, and Jose would hand out the clothes.
Dr. Dan, who was in the car behind us, would get out and frequently see acute medical cases right on the spot, giving a mother anitbiotics for an eye infection, properly bandaging a cut on a child’s hand, etc.
When we arrived at Hatubelico, people were still walking in from neighboring villages in their traditional dress. We were greeted with traditional music and dancing, and Ramos-Horta held a “town meeting”. As a community he helped them come up with a plan to generate more income by providing services to tourists and Timorese from other parts who come to climb the nearly mountain, a mountain that is sacred in Timor’s history.
As in Manitutu, we had sketches educating people on how to use the mosquito nets. Dr. Dan held a clinic where babies were inoculated, medicines were dispensed, and the mothers and children were given their mosquito nets.
Then back down the mountain. A good day’s work.