LETS work together
It was so good to spend much time with the students of Our Lady of Mt Carmel High School! On Saturday I joined their weekend activities. A Mass, totally in English was followed by a singing competition, then poetry competition. Wow, such high standards, but of course there was only 1 winner per category. The prizes were praise and accolades. This senior high school currently has 252 students enrolled – 66 in Year 12; 96 in Year 11; 92 in Year 10. Through LETS, 100 students are sponsored to attend the school. The students who received letters/gifts were overjoyed and would love to know more about their sponsors. They hope to meet them in Letefoho, one day!
The school has 14 paid teachers, 4 volunteer teachers and 1 government funded teacher. The Head of the school is Fr Helio, who also teaches in the school. Last year all of the Year 12 students passed the Nacional Examination (like our Higher School Certificate) and achieved outstanding results for the Ermera District. These great results were achieved as a result of the hard work put in by, Fr’s Helio and Eugenio and all teachers and staff. Special appreciation must be given to Peirre-Jean and Zoe Gougis, a wonderful young volunteer couple who have been in Letefoho for the past 18 months. They are sponsored by the French organisation, Fidesco, and have contributed far beyond their responsibilities to Our Lady of Mt Carmel school and the whole of the Letefoho community. How blessed Letefoho is to have them!
The girls boarding house is looking great and is home to 33 students, 2 house parents – Josephina and Fatima, and 1 part-time assistant cook. The students share the cleaning and cooking and keep the house very tidy. They study 7 days per week for at least 2 hours and are very happy to be living there.
The old house being used as temporary boys boarding house is occupied by 9 boys and Lucas, the house parent. After much discussion we have decided to renovate and extend this building rather than build a new boarding house. The renovated house will then be able to accommodate about 15 boys. Hopefully, this may encourage more boys to complete their senior high school education.
Fr Helio and Eddie de Pina were planning to visit Australia this May, however, this trip has been indefinitely postponed, due to the corona virus. Timor Leste remains one of the few countries where the virus is currently not present. We pray this remains the case!
Fr Helio, Fr Eugenio and all the students have asked me to pass on their best wishes and most sincere thanks for all you are doing for the people of Letefoho.
Please read the letter from Rosalina do Carmo, a Year 12 student living in the boarding house. She has written on behalf of all the students, to thank the people of LNSP.
Lao ho Maromak.
My recent trip to Timor Leste was as wonderful as usual, and very successful. I was met at Dili airport by Eddie de Pina and joined his family for early coffee. It was great to see him, Mary and their lovely children, Fatima, Mario and Tatiana again.
Before travelling from Dili to Letefoho, Fr Helio and I met with Isabel Fernandes de Lima, from the National Labour Force Development Institute to learn about the accredited vocational education courses available in Timor Leste, and their accessibility for students from Letefoho. We visited the diocesan seminary in Kaliti where 2 students from Letefoho, Lucas and Abilio, continue to be supported by LNSP parishioners. On our way to Letefoho we met with 6 sponsored students who are enrolled in the Jesuit Teachers College in Kasait. They are studying to teach a variety of courses – Religion, Mathematics, English, Portuguese and Psychology, while boarding in private homes. Two more of last year’s graduates are studying at the Nacional University of Timor Leste, in Dili. I now know the fees for this, the best university in Timor Leste are US$122 per year.
The finishing of chapel in Eraulo is progressing again! The ceiling has now been lined and the stained- glass windows, which will form the Stations of the Cross, have been measured up! During a meeting with Fr Helio, Eddie de Pina and Jack Singh, the most generous architect and supporter of the chapel, we discussed the work needed for completion. Decisions about the interior fit-out will need to be made soon!