Albany Rotarians help out in Timor-Leste

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Timor-Leste girls use their new toothbrushes.
Camera IconTimor-Leste girls use their new toothbrushes.

Two decades after Australians helped liberate the people of Timor-Leste, WA volunteers are still going to the aid of their northern neighbours.

The country’s historic vote for independence from Indonesia sparked shocking violence in the country 20 years ago this week.

Rotary Club of Albany Port member Paul Wettin recently returned from Timor-Leste, where he was involved in setting up a fresh water supply for two remote villages in the Gari-uai area.

Led by project co-ordinator Max Bird from Kwinana Rotary Club, the team established a water collection point at a mountain spring outlet then ran 6km of pipe to 5000L holding tanks.

They also installed several stand pipes.

Water pipelines being laid for the villages.
Camera IconWater pipelines being laid for the villages.

Albany Port Rotary has supported the project financially.

“The availability of this water to the village people along the pipeline is of huge benefit to several hundred people, including the many children who normally have to collect water at the spring in containers and carry it to their houses after school, often over many kilometres and in rugged, mountainous terrain,” Mr Wettin said.

On the same trip, Mr Wettin helped repair prior water supply installations around Quelicai, Laga and Baguia.

“They were all impressive, relatively low-cost projects and the outcomes were very obvious in terms of the benefits to these communities and especially schoolchildren,” he said.

“Timor-Leste has extremely poor infrastructure, especially in the district areas. Electricity supply is sporadic, the roads are diabolical, sewerage is non-existent.

Albany man Paul Wettin, left in light blue shirt, in Gari-uai.
Camera IconAlbany man Paul Wettin, left in light blue shirt, in Gari-uai.

“The people there were wonderfully warm, friendly and generous to us, and extremely appreciative.”

Along with the Rotary Club of South Bunbury, the Albany club also provided toothbrushes and toothpaste for schoolchildren in Dili and Baguia.

Albany Port Rotary president Ian Moss said the club would continue to back the Timor-Leste project.

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