IMG_0810 - CopyWe’re a Kiwi couple who arrived in Dili in April 2013 on a two-year VSA posting. Pat’s working as communications and advocacy advisor for World Vision. Pip’s teaching English and creative writing. Both of us are blogging about life in the newest country in South East Asia.

Timor Leste is an exciting challenge for us after 30 years of living not only in the same city, (Wellington), but in the same house. While we’re away, we’ve put our communications business, 2Write, on hold.

We’re grateful for the opportunity to help out in the newest country in South East Asia and want to share some of what we learn and see through this blog. We hope you enjoy it.

Pat Martin and Pip Desmond


20 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Pat and Pip
    Pat you look decidedly settled and colonial sitting on your fron porch.
    I would like to see a picture of the scooter and our apartment oh and the beach.
    Can you you swim in the beach or are there several species of fish that will eat or sting you.
    Fish and beans as a staple diet Hmmmmmmm………..
    Are you managing to keep up with the Rugby.
    Den, Julie, Mary and I are heading up to Waikanae to stay in Camilla’s
    Bach (the prize we won at one of the auctions to help send you to your
    Tropical paradise) Tim is also coming so will have a toast for you and Pip



    P. S. This is historic as it is my first Blog.

    • Congratulations on your first blog, John. I’d hate to put you off visiting but the side of my foot did swell up and turn purple after a swim in slightly murky water on Sunday. However, I seem to have avoided amputation. Pat’s blog on motorbikes in Dili coming soon….watch this space. Pip

  2. Hi Pat and Pip, Julie here,It is so good to hear from you. I have been thinking of you a lot, so much so that I dreamt I visited you over there. There was a VERY large green snake in the tree outside your house and you cooked me the local fare- I’m afraid the cuisine is one I wouldn’t pursue again. However i am envious hearing about the chickens in your backyard. We are loving being here in Waikanae in Camilla’s bach and have had a drink in your honour,

    Hello chaps – well here we are sitting in Lady Camilla’s bach and thinking on ANZAC day of Jock, Bob and Bill, and, as is fitting for those gents, John and I are raising multiple glasses in their honour. Enjoyed the first blog – cool writing Pip…more on those little micro details like the pigs and hens please. Pat, the languages there interest me. Tell me abut the Tetun (or Tetum as some seem to call it) language.
    All the best

    hI pAT AND PIP

    Having a few beers a bit pissed off because MSP just lost to HOBM but getting over it. Den and I believe that since you (pat) haven’t passed over the PP e mail addresses that you clearly wish to hold on to this responsibility and I just want you to know that we are ok with this. So, assuming you will be familiar with the time zones, you can therefore get the emails out at the appropriate times.

    We have toasted our fathers for their respective roles in WW2 and we have toasted you and Pip for being in Dili. We will report on the rest of the evening later, if we can remember it. Tim arriving tomorrow.
    Stay well

    Hi Guys

    I have some nice photos but I can’t put them here o I might try to email them to you. If there is a way let me know. Loved reading your blog.

  3. Hi Pat and Pip,

    What a pair of crazies – and thank you for being so. Love your work, love your blog and look forward to following your adventures. We are off to Vietnam in a week and a bit for three and a bit weeks, a pity we could not have arranged to ‘pop in’. Hope to before you leave. A friend of ours is working in Lae for 2-3 years (hopefully) and his stories are similar to yours. Anyway, all the very best to you in everything you do.


    Penny and Brian

  4. Hi Pat and Pip,
    Del here, busy packing for DIli, where did you get the mosquito dome for your bed. Am having trouble sourcing one to bring over,
    Cheers del

  5. Dear Pat,
    I’ve talked to Ruth Nicol about your blog and she suggested I get in touch with you. We run a website for babyboomers called kiwiboomers and we liked your Don’t Dili Dally story. We’d like to run it on kiwiboomers (all copyright rests with you), and if you’re happy with this please let’s know.
    Paul Smith

    • Hi Paul
      Yes, you’re welcome to use anything you like from our ‘Dili dally’ site, although there is no story called ‘Don’t Dili dally’. It’s a collection of separate posts – I’ll sometimes write them (eg, the recent one ‘All in a day’s work’) but more often than not, Pip is the author.
      All the best with your Kiwiboomers site.

  6. Dear Pip
    My Husband Jeff and I will be in Dili from September 2013, would love to hear any hints and ideas you could give us before we leave here. We will be under the umbrella of VSA, but Jeff will be working with Child Fund. Any tips you could give us will be greatly received.

    LeeAnn Lewis

    • Hi LeeAnn, We look forward to meeting you and Jeff next month. He will have a great Kiwi workmate called Julia who arrived with us in April! One tip – you need lots of insect repellant for the mozzies but apparently it’s cheaper to buy it in Oz on the way over. Please feel free to fire any specific questions at us and we’ll do our best to answer them. Timor’s a fascinating and complex place and we’re still finding our feet. You can email me at pip.desmond@2write.co.nz. Cheers. Pip

  7. Hi Pip n Pat

    Thanks for a most informative and entertaining blog. It’s good to catch up on how things are going at the moment in Timor,I was last there about three years ago.
    I have a web site http://www.trekkingeasttimor.org that I am updating,would you be able to help in providing some up to date information?
    Trekkingeasttimor has a links page, is it ok if I make a to link to this blog? I can be contacted in Melbourne at tuesdayhometime@hotmail.com Best Wishes John Bartlett

    • Hi John

      Good to hear from you and glad that you liked our blog. You’re welcome to put a link to it on your blog and we’ll do likewise with a link to your blog.

      You ask about ‘providing updated information’: we’re happy to help out where we can but we’re not really dedicated trekkers. We enjoy getting out and about from Dili (I travel a bit in my work anyway) and usually we try and incorporate a decent walk. After our Matebian experience, we’ll definitely try and tackle Ramelau next year (by then we should have recovered from Matebian).

      More generally, I was interested in your comment that Timor-Leste has a ‘complete network of walking tracks’. While that’s true, the networks are often only known to locals and trekking here can be confusing for malae. We’re probably spoilt by being Kiwis and having such a great network of well-signposted tracks everywhere in our homeland, but here many walks require guides to find your way. For instance, although the track to the top of Matebian was largely in open, un-forested terrain and it was a fine, sunny day, we would have struggled to find our way without guides.

      I’ve mentioned to a few tourism people here that Timor has great potential as a destination for walkers and trekkers. Even around Dili it would be simple matter to organise a network of tracks along the ridges and hills, giving great views of the city and harbour (‘simple’ that is, unless there are land and access issues to be resolved). Firstly, however, good signs are needed.

      I agree completely that Timorese are such friendly people that walking is a great way to meet the locals.

      All the best


  8. Hi Pip and Pat,

    Thanks for this amazing blog. It is very informative and as a Timorese, I am very impressed with all information that I read from this blog. Thank You very much for sharing Timorese Culture and also some information relevant to Timor. I really appreciate it.
    I also would like to ask something about some pictures in your blog. I found some pictures that you posted and you said they are from Gembel Collective Art Centre. I found 3 pictures and I just wanna ask about the fourth pictures (sculpture from Mangrove), is that masterpiece from Gembel?

    I look forward to hearing from You.



  9. Hi – we are heading to Dili shortly – my husband is NZDF and our 8 year old daughter and I are accompanying him – we’ve been really interested on reading your blog and learning from your first hand experiences

    • Hi Bronwyn – good to hear from you. We’re heading home in April after two years, so happy to catch up before then if you want. It’s had its challenges here but overall its been great. You’ll enjoy it. Pat

  10. Hey Pip n Pat. Have written a longer comment by ‘Banshees in Baucau’ – so hope that one lands. But just to say (if the other doesn’t) that my quick initial glimpses into yr blogsite brought back much for me. Timor’s been in my life (or i have been in the world of Timor?) since 1982, and in my subsequent visits in a different way… so each cameo speaks. Thank you. After Matt’s just visiting here (Whangarei) and finding out a bit about yr adventures, i am keen to catch up if poss, when you return – and have landed!
    Yr ‘Trust’ book features on our shelf, Pip. And your blog on Matebian that i discovered after my comment on ‘Banshees’ daily echoes my thoughts on looking at the tiny painting Carol has done, in our room, and the many stories from Timorese of their families in the mountainsides at Matebian, stories that go back to 76.
    Til soon, Ate logo!
    tim x

    • Dear Tim, How lovely to hear from you and your own connection to Timor, which I didn’t know about either. I’ve read your longer comment on the Matebian post – way more intrepid than anything we’ve done here. Interestingly, I think the Matebian post is our single most popular post on the blog. We’d love to catch up when we get back and share Timor stories. We’ll be staying with family for a couple of weeks and then returning to Daniell St, so please get in touch when you’re next in Wellington. Arohanui. Pip

  11. Great to have the two way connection, Pip – and Pat! Will come looking for you in wellington – and keep an eye out for your upcoming blogs (as well as the ones i have to go back to, an insightful journey of learning over the two years, i can see). Boa viaggem!
    tim x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s