Most of the evenings when I was flying in Timor Leste I would walk up a hill behind my hotel. One of the evenings it started to rain so myself and another Vietnamese pilot Capt Binh decided to take a short cut to go home. We used to past this little wooden shed on the slope of the hill many times but had paid no notice of it. That particular day because of the rain we decided to go in for shelter.We were in for a surprise! Inside that little shed were about 21 boys . This was their sort of "hostel" and all of them were university students in nearby Dili University. Because of the war with Indonesia, they were quite old. the oldest among them was 26 years old. Their parents are from the districts all over Timor.This was the bed for one of the boys. Some of the students were just sleeping on the cement floor.There was no water supply nearby so it had to be brought up in jerry cans. You can imagine the hygiene standards of the boys here. As for food, their parents only share a sack of rice every month for ALL the kids. Amongst them they had a few dollars to buy oil, sugar and salt. These boys are expert at survival for I saw with my own eyes they were gathering leaves of some of the trees nearby to be boiled and eaten. There were a few chicken behind too.For their only meal of the day there was nothing much to be eaten. What I saw was only rice and some leaves.BUT these boys were cheerful and looks happy. To them they are waiting for a bright future after their university education.I had a look at their mathematics module. It looks like Form 2 work to me but these are for their university here. No wonder one of my engineering hand who had been teaching in a university do not even know the working of an internal combustion engine! He graduated as an industrial engineer from Indonesia.
I felt bad for they boys and next day I decided to buy some good food for them. The next time when you feel poor just remember how poor these boys are...both financially and spiritually.