The Mansfield Friends of Venilale, FoV, and their mirror group The Venilale Friends of Mansfield, FoM, have been incredibly active since the relationship began in 2004. Every year at least one group from Mansfield has visited Venilale and with the introduction of computers and a fairly regular power supply communication between these friendship towns has blossomed.
Our Staff in Venilale
We have been very fortunate to have had inspiring and dedicated leaders from our Australian volunteers. Kirra Litchfield was our initial volunteer in 2009, followed by Sarah Angus in 2011 and for the last year, John Boxsell. John continued the excellent work by training our local Friendship Liaison Officer, Georgina Sarmento, and Joni Sarmento (not related) our local tour guide. John was instrumental in improving communication and helping to turn the old police station into the Venilale Tourist Information and Internet Centre.
Major FoM projects in 2013
Major FoV Projects for 2013
- Pay the salaries of our essential, local FoM workers, i.e. Friendship Liaison Officer and Tourist Guide
- Provide funds for worthwhile community projects which fall under the banner of supporting women’s groups, education and tourism
- Assist a small town, similar to Mansfield, which exists in one of the newest and poorest countries in the world
Have fun, get fit and raise money so that students in Venilale can attend secondary school, learn trade skills and become nurses and midwives. WALK THE RIDGE LINE for the Venilale Scholarship fund.
9am Departure 400 GLENROY LANE
$5 Student $15 Adult
No cost if equal sponsorship raised
(No Dogs Allowed)
Free BBQ courtesy of Mansfield Rotary
( forms available at Mansfield Newsagency )
Student Prize: $200
Adult Prize: Accommodation Package
GLENROY-MT TERRY-MT BATTERY-MANSFIELD
( Approx 16 K’s )
SUNDAY OCTOBER 13th
Venilale Scholarship Fundraiser
Kath Davey 0427752942 or Helen Crockett 57775575
Previous scholarship recipients in 2012 and 2013
Mansfield Secondary College Biennial Visit
Venilale Venturers for 2013 included—Julie Aldous (intrepid teacher), students—Arran Scale, Jordan Wilson and Jack Clark, parent, Grant Scale and Jordan’s sister, Alisha Wilson.
What did they do?
Showing amazing maturity they sat in on formal meetings, acted as ambassadors for MSC and had fun playing basketball, soccer and football with kids of all ages. They coped with minimal power, cold water and certainly no fast food or TV. They left a lasting impression on all Venilale residents and really put into practice the term ‘friendship’ town/school.
More July Visitors
Pictured above: Michelle Harmer, Judy Doubas and Graeme McClelland with Zoe Doubas behind the camera.
Below: traditional cloth called tais (pronounced ‘tice’ is woven and sold in women’s homes.
ALSO VISITING WERE THE FOSTERS
David and Anne stayed in Venilale for 6 weeks. They taught at all the junior secondary schools and the Senior Secondary once the students had finished building the temporary structure which housed four ‘classrooms’.
At the MSC friendship school in Bercoli, they taught English to the teachers and worked with Pedro de Sousa who visited Mansfield for three months in 2005.
I have always wanted to visit Timor Leste as I have been following the political struggles for many years and always felt that Australia was more than partly responsible for the invasion by Indonesia.
When I met Michelle Harmer and she told me she went every year, I asked her if I could go with her sometime. I am a writer and she wanted to document the tais making. I suggested that Zoe come as well to record it photographically.
I loved my time in Timor Leste. The people are beautiful, friendly, gentle and very courageous. As westerners we could learn much from them. Although I understand that the East Timorese would benefit from tourism economically, I hope that the country and the people manage to retain their cultural integrity as well.
I will be returning and taking the risk of another bout of dengue fever (I might use some mozzie repellent next time) as I am intent on creating a market for the women’s tais, which is proving almost impossible at the moment, due to transport costs from Timor Leste and a suitable market in Australia. I have my lateral cap on and am determined to solve the problem.
(In the next newsletter we will include articles from Zoe Doubas and Michelle Harmer. Many thanks to Zoe for allowing us to use some of her fabulous photos in our newsletters and 2014 calendar.)