Thirteen excited Emanuel School students recently returned from an 11-day trip to Timor Leste (East Timor). One of the highlights of visiting the country was connecting with the villagers of Gildapil in the far west of Timor Leste.
With the help of an Emanuel English teacher, the students learnt the basics of teaching English as a second language. This helped the young Australians program their lessons for the 3 mornings of teaching the Gildapil School students. With great enthusiasm, the Emanuel visitors used songs and games to help the young children with their new language skills.
Samara, Year 9, felt that the trip to Timor Leste was a significant and life-altering experience. “One of the best parts of our stay in Gildapil was the hours we spent playing with the kids on the soccer field, just below where we were staying. We played soccer, football and ‘Duck, Duck Goose’, and took photos and laughed with them. The language barrier wasn’t much of an issue and we made lots of friends whom we were very sad to leave behind.”
Daniel, one of the Year 10 Emanuel students said: “Coming from a privileged environment with so many opportunities, it is difficult for one to imagine the hardships experienced by the majority of people who live in East Timor. Seeing so many children with so much untapped potential during our time in Gildapil really opened up my eyes to this issue. The trip also impacted my awareness of what I buy, what I use and what I waste.”
Emanuel School students raised money before they left Sydney through a variety of fundraising days. Although Mia, Year 9, found it hard to leave Gildapil, she was happy knowing that that the money that had been raised was going to help the villagers to build a bridge to enable the children to cross a stream to get to school in the wet season, and a water pump to help with agricultural development.