Goofy Goes to East Timor LbNA # 35901
Goofy Goes to East Timor
Placed: September 13, 2007
Placer: The Town of Sprague, CT USA
****Bring your own ink!!*****
Bless the Town of Sprague, CT's heart; they allowed the grant writer to take a month off to assist with a democracy and governance project in the world’s newest country. The Living Memory Project is a video archive of testimony of ex-political prisoners—ordinary citizens, a third of whom were women-- who were captured and tortured during the Indonesian occupation of East Timor (1975-99). If you’re interested in seeing some of the testimony it can be found at Northern Illinois University’s Southeast Asia Digital Library website (http://sea.lib.niu.edu/video.html). Since the grant writer is a new convert to letterboxing, she forgot that she had a stamp (of Disney’s Goofy) in her pocket when she packed for the trip, and found that she was in the position of placing perhaps the first letterbox in the country. How about THAT??!
Now, since getting to East Timor is the biggest challenge, she made sure that if you DO end up here, you can find Goofy very easily.
1. Go to East Timor. (I just loved writing that.)
2. You will be staying in the capital (Dili) at a hotel most likely. Get on the beach road to Cristo Rey. This is a statue overlooking Dili harbor and is a replica of Cristo Redemptor in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, except a little smaller. It is of mixed significance in that it was constructed by the Indonesians for the Timorese, who are Catholic, but the motives for its construction remain questionable. (I’m trying to be politically sensitive here). Mostly, people use it for exercise (you climb 500 steps to the top) and the beautiful views it affords. So get a taxi to the base of the statue (about $2 from most hotels) and start climbing.
3. Along the way up you will see the fourteen stations of the cross, so you can stop and wheeze and pretend you are looking at them. This monument is relatively well-preserved by Timor standards, having survived several lootings, burnings and bombings of the majority of the country over the past several years.
4. When you reach the top of the stairs, bear left around the statue and you will come to the left hand corner of the platform. You’ll probably see some graffiti on the concrete rail that says “REBAL.” In this corner is an opening to pass through to go to the end of a cliff and get an even better view of the harbor. Go down this path just a little ways until you come to a two-posted cast iron/metal sign frame sunk into the rocks. Go to this sign, turn around, and with your back to it and facing the statue, you will see that the retaining wall of the platform comes to a corner (point) in front of you. Walk 5 paces until you are directly in front of the corner. About 2 feet off the ground is a large square stone. Just above it and to the left, several small stones are covering a crevice where the letterbox is hidden. It is in a Glad bag that is wrapped in a black plastic bag. Anyone wanting to make it more secure, feel free.
5. Many people visit this statue as part of their afternoon stroll, so be sure you are not being watched when you remove the letterbox. I have included instructions in Tetun and Spanish but not in Portuguese, so if anyone can translate them for me I’d appreciate it. I’m going to try and introduce the project staff and their families to letterboxing here—I think they would like it.
6. Have fun, and when you come back, be sure to visit the Mukluk Preserve in Sprague where we will increase our 3-letterbox series to 4 this fall.
Obrigadu barak—ho sorte!!