As you are reading this, our first Timor immersion is underway! Michael Stone is in Dili working with the Timorese veterans who are hosting us. Kirsten Wells is on her way to Darwin to meet with four Darwin participants and early arrivals from Tasmania, NSW and Rockhampton, and Caitlin Proctor and I will travel with the main body from Brisbane early Sunday morning. We will be farewelled in Darwin by Timorese Ambassador to Australia Abel Guterres, and newly elected Federal Member for Darwin, Army Veteran and good friend of ours, Luke Gosling. In Dili we will be met on the tarmac by a representative group of Timorese Veterans and the Prime Ministers Director of Veterans Affairs, Ines Amielda.
After 4 months of guided preparation, 27 Aussie vets are travelling to Timor, ranging in age from 30 to 71, from four years to 47 years service. Veterans of all three services, one former AFP Police Officer and all recent conflicts, with seven females and 20 males. Together with the Timorese we will form a cavalcade with a group of over 50 in total, to journey around the country over the coming 11 days, visiting a vast array places of prominence where Australian and Timorese veterans served from WW2 onwards.
Our focus will not be on the past but rather to seek inspiration for the present and future through seeing, hearing and learning of the incredible resilience, reconciliation and rehabilitation of the Timorese Resistance warriors. We will share our stories of what has worked well, support each other in fellowship, and contemplate how we might better nurture our bodies, minds, souls, and relationships for the journey ahead. A key outcome for each individual is to develop a Health and Wellbeing plan, and imagine a future life identity and purpose, especially in respect of involvement in the ex service community.
The trip will have a climactic point on 23 July when participants will do a predawn ascent of Timor’s highest mountain, Mt Ramelau, to experience the dawn and have a service of healing and new beginnings, leaving the past and darkness behind and embracing a future of life, love and hope. This is the Awakening we all desire but find so elusive in day to day life in Australia.
The Timor immersion is meant to be a circuit-breaker to prepare participants for a period of 9 months follow up support by VCA staff in living out new and healthier lifestyles.
Thanks to all VCA members and those who have contributed, sponsored and supported this programme in so many ways. We are especially grateful to our major sponsors – RSL Qld for majority funding of this specific programme and RSL Care for funding for our staff and other activities.
We hope to do daily posts on our Timor Awakening page on Faceook, and would invite all our members, supporters and sponsors to Kookaburra Cafe on Sunday 14 Aug at 1800 (6pm) for a meal followed by a briefing on our experience.
Obrigado (Thank You )
May God bless you – Gary
VETERANS CARE ASSOCIATION Inc