Writing to you from Ngurah Rai airport in Bali. If drops of sweat could materialize on an electronic document, you would see them now. 7-hour layover means that I am stuck out in the arrivals area for a while. On the bright side, the open air design sets a cool atmosphere, and it gave me the chance to clear my mind and write a bit.
In the first 8 weeks in Dili, the greatest challenges have turned out to be physical. It’s not entirely clear what is causing it, but I haven’t been in good health for the last 6 weeks or so. I’m able to go to work and get around just fine, but my stomach has been unsettled, and I now have a double ear infection. So, my health insurer determined that it would be best to go to Singapore and get it all checked out.
Fortunately, in my time so far, the illnesses haven’t stopped me from meeting plenty of people, learning the basics of Tetun, and enjoying the slow, easy pace of life that ensures any emotion will quickly fade to calmness. However, I haven’t been able to work out or do anything too adventurous, and I’m looking forward to clearing this all up so that I can get back out there.
Telling my Timorese colleagues that I would be flying to Singapore – where a month of standard Timorese wages could easily be spent in a day – to address medical conditions which they have also experienced, placed a reminder in the conversation of the depth of our inequality. It took me back to a moral conflict that I’ve reflected on in the past: my life should not be more valuable than anyone else’s, and yet I find a wealth of resources for self-preservation at my disposal that most people will never be able to access. It is hard not to feel guilty employing them. At the same time, I think it’s reminded me to be grateful for the privileges that I have. I certainly feel grateful right now.
In addition to dealing with sickness, I think that I also haven’t posted recently because I was too ambitious with the subjects that I wanted to cover. Going to try and post more often with some simple thoughts and photos along the way.