Mansfield is hosting a month-long visit from Sr Carlos Guterres of Venilale, our Friendship Town in East Timor. As the Community Development Officer in Venilale, Carlos has worked closely with Friends of Venilale to implement the projects it has undertaken there. Carlos successfully applied for a placement with the federal Department of Community Planning and Development. With other trainees from East Timor he spend two weeks in Melbourne improving his English-language skills.
Real Friendship in Friends of Venilale – Timor Leste
“I am delighted to be in Mansfield and I feel I have many friends here,” Carlos said. He will spend a total of four weeks in Mansfield finding out how local government works here. Kaaren Smethurst is overseeing a comprehensive training scheme that introduces Carlos to all aspects of the shire’s work. “He has looked at governance, budgeting, customer service, economic development and land use,” Kaaren said. “He has spent time with engineers, planners and local laws officers, and learnt about water and sewerage, public health and immunisation.”
East Timor Tourism
Tourism is a particular focus for Carlos because Venilale is in a very scenic location and hopes to establish a community-driven tourist industry. “Carlos has met local community groups and inspected Meals on Wheels, the Rail Trail and the Made in Mansfield cooperative,” Kaaren said. The Friends of Venilale have provided hospitality and support, taking Carlos on trips to the snowfields and to watch the footy.
Mansfield – Friends of Venilale forever!
Towards the end of his stay Carlos will be joined by the head of local government in Venilale, Sr Julio Tome da Silva. Sr Julio will spend a week in Mansfield getting a feel for the district. As well as spending time at the shire he will visit schools and a farm. “This is a great chance to build friendships between our two communities,” Carlos said. “Mansfield and Venilale, friends forever!”