Kid punching water bottle, mimicking machete chops, sitting on steps of monument in front of Belo’s residence. The burned out houses along the square behind, a dark gathering cloud bunching against the mountains behind.

The late afternoon on days like today, that grew so hot so quickly, unbearably strong in the brightness, the washed out visuals of dirt and shiny white Land rovers. After hours of such heat, unable to concentrate, unable to entertain the slightest ambition, the late afternoon becomes of great importance. To recover the day, to take back any ability to think and dream and plan, to see the color in things, one must find a place to sit and feel the breeze. To watch the rain clouds that bring no rain, to watch groups of girls coming back from school. To inspect the shapes and shadows burned and crumbled out of buildings, to compare the bright pink of the bouganvilleas and the bright blue fences.

Kids sometimes out of curiosity or boredom gather near by me to watch me drink water and sit and feel the breeze. Like its some wonder that I need to sit in the shade and enjoy the last hour and a half of day light. But there’s nothing too sinister about this, it’s just a growing mind taking in experience, seeing new people do new things. Seeing new people as people. So often I think white people don’t come off as people so much as walking money bags or strange passing wildlife.

Today I had the sensation, continued, that this is the best place to be for me right now. Sitting by the bright blue water in front of the UNTAET palace, watching the old guy below through his fishing net out into the shallow, anchor-filled water, I just felt so at ease, and so free to chose what to do and what not to do.

There are a number of currently non-existent job opportunities, and many different possibilities from each. There is, it seems, high paying consultant-type work with the UN which is short and sweet. You get paid heaps for a short period of work, no benefits, and get out quickly. Then there is UNV-dom, and slightly longer-term arrangement where you get paid pretty well, about 5 times what it costs to live here for about three months. But there is a real office-droney kind of feeling to that, and I think I might drown alive in that atmosphere. There is no ambition, no purpose, no vision outside of that small office. Then there is a volunteer gig with a large international NGO, which pays barely subsistence, but offers a gateway into lots of good work overseas and in the U.S. So the question really becomes one of balancing longer-term goals with shorter-term wants and needs.


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