Support for water program in Timor Leste

Field Reports

28 January 2017

The Second Gathering at TSUITACHI building. Let’s talk about Ono Pure Water and Future

The second gathering of “Talking about Ono Pure Water and Future” was held on January 28, at TSUITACHI building in Motomachi, Ono City. People came from inside and outside of the city of Ono, and participated in the event to exchange their opinions about various water issues like;
“What can we do to transform Ono’s proud water into the positive power to make difference on the globe?”
“What can Ono do to transform its community for the better, today and tomorrow?”
The main topic of the event this time was “the report on Timor-Leste field trip, featuring the presentation by the delegates, sharing what they saw and felt with a wide range of human interest stories.

As you already know, Ono City has resumed supporting UNICEF’s water project in Timor-Leste, to increase sustainable access to water supply in rural schools and communities. Last October, along with a Japan Committee for UNICEF staff, the members the CWP from Ono City, headed by Vice Mayor of Ono, visited Timor-Leste to preview the situation of communities and children who will benefit from Ono contribution.

It was severely cold day with the temperature below zero; nevertheless, the event has successfully attracted participants, with more than 40 people in total. With their heart pounding, people enjoyed look in gat a set of photographs taken during the field visit, anticipating exciting hours ahead of them.

The stove helped us keeping warm.

Vice Mayor Mr. Kon, gave an opening address, and opened the ball.
“Tonight, we would like to spotlight Timor-Leste, where Ono provides financial support through the partnership with the Japan Committee for UNICEF. The city decided to reach out for people in this country with low access to safe clean water, hoping the city’s commitment will make difference in the lives of children and help create togetherness between Ono and Timor-Leste. We’d like to share all of you with what we saw, heard and felt during a-week-trip to Timor Leste. We hope the event will kick-start a dialogue asking what we can do in the future. We indeed welcome your honest opinions and feedback to our presentation.”

We had two guests,Ms. Yoshie Yoshida from the Japan Committee for UNICEF and Mr. Jun Kukita, the former representative of UNICEF Timor-Leste Country Office.
Ms. Yoshida spoke about what UNICEF does to fight for the rights of every child, every day, across the globe, along with the description on the Ono’ funding to UNICEF’s project in Timor- Leste. And Mr.Kukita spoke about his experiences with some touching episodes, revealing how he, as the former representative of UNICEF Timor-Leste, struggled to be responsible for implementing of all activities under the joint partnership with the Government of Timor-Leste to accelerate the realization of the rights of all children to survival, development, protection and participation.

Regarding the partnership between the Japan Committee for UNICEF and Ono City, please click here!

It was Mr. Kukita’s first visit to Ono. He said he found many curious similarities between Timor-Leste and Ono.
“Ono is surrounded by mountains, while Timor-Leste has a lot of mountainous regions, too.
The landscape alone is quite similar. Speaking of the Ono Castle, its feature reminds me of the castle I know, “Pousada.” I am amazed at the similarity between the two castles inaway they break the clouds in the sky. Mr. Kukita drew a parallel between the two castles, showing some photos of “Pousada”.
The audience got excited as they see the photos.

“Also, there are wood-burning stoves in Ono City Hall. It also reminds me of life in Timor-Leste, where each house has a traditional style kitchen stove. It makes me feel nostalgic. Forest, water and traditional kitchen stove are fundamental part of everyday life for people in Timor-Leste, but sad to say, this lifestyle itself has in fact been creating a bunch of serious problems. I wish I could have done more to solve such lifestyle-related-problems. Forestal mismanagement resulted in causing frequent floods. Due to limited access to clean drinking water, children have to commit themselves time and energy to fetch water every day. The impact of traditional kitchen stove can be clearly seen in the health status of children. These are the issues still hanging in the air.

Mr. Kukita fully satisfied audience’s curiosity about knowing Timor-Lest, presenting his views on how its nations has made progress in peace and democracy from a state of ruins with tattered infrastructure and ceased economy, as well as on the countless issues its children face including the low access to improved water facilities.

Following was the presentation session by the inspection team.

Each member shared the memories of the trip, recalling every detail of the trip. The master of ceremony was Mr. Hiroshi Tsukinoki, an accompanying photographer with the CWP team. Mr. Tsukinoki proceed the session by presenting photographs in which he captured the lives of people in Timor-Leste.

“In the morning in Timor-Leste, we experience a beautiful fog.

In Ono we hear the sound of water through the fog, right? It’s similar, but different.”

“The airport in the capital, Dili, is about the size of a supermarket in Ono (※ image).”
I see many similarities especially in terms of having communication distance to other people, which Japanese find comfortable. We share similar values on respecting people as does Timor- Lester.

“When I played soccer with the local children, I stepped on cattle poop scattered in the schoolyard. The children let me use their precious water to wash it away …”

Timor-Leste is the coffee-growing country, and its coffee is rich, fragrant, and very delicious.
One of the audience, an owner of a coffee shop, ” MOMONGA COFFEE “stood up and said,
“When we heard Ono City was going to support Timor-Leste, we decided to serve Timor-Leste coffee in order to contribute to the project.”

“I created a group called CROP together with my friends in Ono City. We began donating a part of Timor-Leste coffee sales to Ono City. Ono supports Timor-Leste, and we support Ono City. . In this way, I hope to expand the support project.”

Being able to support Timor-Leste every time you drink coffee is a wonderful thing!

When the discussion moved to the topic about how we can provide Timor-Leste with technical support, a plumbing shop owner said “I’m willing to help them at any time!”

You can get a summary of the field trip and a progress report of the project here on this page.

We received a message from Ms. Fukahori. She helped us as an interpreter on-site. “I have been doing long-term support activities in Timor-Leste. I feel like I’m living together with people in Timor-Leste more than supporting them. I hope people in Ono City feel the same so we can build a good relationship.”

In closing, the team extended their heartfelt gratitude to the audience for their participation.
“Timor-Leste, with its half of the population to be 0-18 years of old, is filled with youthful energy and hope!
When we saw the brilliance in the children’s eyes, I strongly realized that reaching out to children in Timor-Leste is something valuable. We find it important to communicate and connect with more people in Japan and with more people in the world if we are taking the position that the CWP can be a catalyzer in enhancing international cooperation to advocate for the rights of children around the globe to protect the lives of every child, every day. And to achieve this purpose, your cooperation and understandings are indispensable.
Thanks in advance for your continuing support.”

The event was successful in a way that it offered the participants a wonderful opportunity to feel a sort of togetherness with the county, Timor-Lest. We will keep hosting the “Talking about Ono Pure Water and Future” gatherings.
Please stay tuned with us and welcome you all to join the club!