The people of Letefoho in Timor Leste have long dreamt of establishing a viable tourism industry. Thanks to the co-operative efforts of the St Bakhita Centre in Letefoho, Harvest Inroads travel and the LETS program that dream is one step closer to becoming a reality.
The first immersion tour took place from 11-18 May and was a great success.
From the summit of Mt Ramelau to the streets of small mountain villages, those on the inaugural trip were deeply moved by the outpouring of friendship, hospitality and love displayed by the Timorese people. Against the backdrop of the challenging conditions in which the people of Timor Leste live, the trip was a grounding experience for the group and an opportunity for ‘renewal of the heart’.
Here’s what those on the trip had to say:
"Thank you Harvest Inroads and LETS for everything on our Timor Leste Immersion trip. It was an absolutely fantastic trip and it is something that I will never forget! Everyone at work has been so interested in hearing about my experiences and some have mentioned that they would be interested in going on a trip to Timor Leste!" - Rebekah
"The inaugural LETS Harvest Inroads Tour was an amazing immersion experience. In 8 days we learnt the history of Timor Leste, experienced the highlights of Dili, visited several different regions – with vastly different landscapes, climbed Mt Ramelau and enjoyed quality time with East Timorese children, students and adults." - Georgina
"As well as having the opportunity to experience the beauty of the Letefoho region and its people, it was enormously satisfying to witness first-hand the extent to which our trip provided direct economic support to so many in the villages including guides, drivers, interpreters, cooks, tais weavers, kiosk operators and so many others." - Paul
On the last night of the trip Eddie de Pina, the founder of the St Bakhita Centre in Letefoho at which the group was based, said “I want you to know how much it means to us for you to come here. The only industry in this area is coffee growing. The growers receive just 32 to 40 cents for a kilo of coffee beans and are very poor. This opportunity to develop tourism gives us such hope. We have been inspired and filled with such anticipation in the lead up to this trip.”
The trip provides a wonderful opportunity to experience something new and different, and to immerse yourself in Timorese culture, whilst supporting some of the world’s most needy people. It will change the way you look at the world and your place in it.