This is the seven of a multi-part series.
Source: Rotary Down Under, regional magazine of Australia, March 2020
Resilience – Find Ways to Bounce Back
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms: to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.” - Viktor Frankl
All of us have times of stress, loss, failure or trauma in our lives. How we respond to these events has a big impact on our wellbeing. We often cannot choose what happens to us, but we can choose how we react to what happens. In practice it’s not always easy, but one of the most exciting findings from recent research is that resilience, like many other life skills, can be learned.
School Library Puts Smiles on Faces in Timor Leste
It was all smiles at Primary School No.15 of Chai, in the Los Palos region of Timor Leste, on October 4, 2019, when the long-awaited school library was officially opened amid great fanfare. The celebrations were the culmination of a joint project between the Rotary Clubs of Darwin and Darwin South, NT, and the Rotary Club of Dili Lafaek, Timor Leste, set in motion by Head of the primary school Ladeslau de Aguiar.
The Rotary Club of Darwin was approached by past district governor Joanne Schilling in January 2018 to determine interest in partnering with the Rotary Club of Darwin South to build and equip the library.
While Darwin South had funds to fit out and equip the library, they were unable to cover the construction phase. The initial design was for a 20sqm single-room building, with a construction estimate of US$6000.
Having been involved with projects in Timor Leste since the early 2000s, and with continuing involvement in the creation of the Rotary Club of Dili Lafaek and the training of Rotarians and Rotaractors in-country, the Rotary Club of Darwin jumped on board.
Representatives from each club met in Dili in March 2018, where Chai community representative Adilsonio, of the Rotary Club of Dili Lafaek, was appointed project manager. It was decided to increase the building size to 37.5sqm with an additional computer room to future-proof the library. This brought construction costs up to US$10,000 plus expenses for Adilsonio.
Work got underway in July, with poor road infrastructure throwing up a few challenges. Dili to Los Palos is approximately 240km and takes an average of seven hours to travel; Los Palos to Chai is a further 15km but takes 1.5 hours! Then, of course, there was the wet season, making the road impassable, and the builder’s brick-making machine broke down (all bricks were made on site) with parts having to come from Dili.
Nonetheless, the building was completed in mid-2019, with the official opening attended by Ray Fauntleroy, of the Rotary Club of Darwin, past district governor Joanne and Percy Schilling, of the Rotary Club of Darwin South, and project manager Adilsonio.
As is evident from the photos, happiness was in abundance among the staff and students, and more broadly the whole community as it will be a resource for many.
The next challenge is to provide a permanent water supply for the school and community as staff and students currently bring all of their own water for personal use and consumption each day.