Jo Jouin, former director Sydney’s Toby’s Estate Coffee made a visit to East Timor in late 2004 to look at local conditions. Crema magazine asked Jo to tell us of her experiences.
From the moment we stepped off the plane at Dili airport on the northern side of East Timor we were struck by the warmth and friendliness of the Timorese people.
The children were very accepting of us and we quickly learnt some basic Portuguese language skills – ‘Bon dia‘ for hello and ‘obrigado‘ for thank you. Initially most people were very shy but as we took some polaroid photos and showed the magic of developing the photos, the ice was broken and laughter rang out.
The extent of the poverty really became apparent as we moved up to the mountains. We were invited into the traditional thatched home of one influential and important family from the guerilla movement. There were no possessions. Nothing, just the clothes on their back and a mat to sleep on. (more…)