An Update from Our Sister Parish in Railaco East Timor – April 2021
Thankfully, the recent floods and spread of Covid in East Timor have not impacted the people of Railaco in a big way. In heavily populated areas such as the capital Dili and some other areas, Jesuit Social Services Timor-Leste has been very actively involved in distributing food, clothing and blankets to those affected.
Fr Bong reports from Railaco that plans for 2021 for the Mobile Medical Clinic and Children’s Feeding Program just continue as before. He continues to visit twelve different stations in the Ermera region with the mobile clinic and pharmacy. The children’s feeding program continues in three areas. Contributions from St Canice’s pays for food to feed the children and the staff.
Cristina, the Coordinator of the Feeding Program since 2005 reports that her team still prepares a nutritious diet of porridge, chicken, eggs, milk and vegetables for the mostly pre-school age children.
Fr Bong thanks St Canice’s for their help without which the Railaco Jesuit Mission could not carry-out these humanitarian works. He acknowledges, “the generosity and willingness of St Canice’s to reach out to the less fortunate in East Timor, particularly in Railaco.
One of the mothers, Filomena Expostu, says, “ gratitude goes out to St Canice’s and our friends in Australia who have been providing food for my children”.
A new Principal for our secondary school, NOSSEF, arrived in Railaco from Japan at the end of last year. Fr Hyoe Murayama SJ is a newly ordained Jesuit priest. Previously he worked with the Jesuit Educator, Fr Bert Boholst SJ at the College of St Ignatius in Kasait, closer to Dili.
Fr Hyoe looks on himself humbly as ‘a pencil in God’s hands’ working with the teachers and students in Railaco to ensure these young Timorese have the best education and better opportunities in their lives than their parents.
The school enrolment is 375 students in classes from Years 10 – 12. There are 24 teachers and 7 non-teaching staff. The monthly donations from St Canice’s is spent on special teachers hired to improve the academic standards of the students.
As Fr Hyoe settles in, he’s getting to appreciate the background situation with the students. Some have finance problems or are facing serious family situations like separation and divorce. Despite this, children come to school each day with hope and joy.
“My overview for the school NOSSEF this year is hope. Hope makes us joyful”, says Fr Hyoe.
Fr Hyoe says, ‘we don’t only want to talk about money, but we can’t ignore the need for financial support. We have always been grateful for the support of our donors and benefactors, especially St Canice’s parish. As Principal of this school, I’d like to express my deep gratitude of this school and we hope they continue to send a sign of hope so that we can continue to hope. We would like to welcome generous donors here again, after this pandemic.
Year 12 student Leonigio Soares Pereira adds “Jesuit formation not only helps us reach our intellectual capacity but also our mental and spiritual growth. The Jesuit education helps us to be men and women for others. It forms us to serve the Church and the country”.
“Student Genilda Castro da Costa Soares concludes with a thank you message to the people of St Canice’s.
“Your support now is the seed for us to share in the future”.