Subject: Natarbora Agricultural College restoration report

Bega District News

Natarbora Agricultural College restoration report

Friday, 9 September 2005

AT THE last meeting of the Bega Advocates for Timor-Leste, Allan Elton presented his report on the first RAWCS team to go to Natarbora to make the agricultural college there habitable.

The aim of this first team was to establish a local team of workers and to find local suppliers and to establish a costing for future RAWCS teams and establish a flow on from one team to another.

Allan's team also made sure the accommodation was adequate for future teams.

It commenced the restoration of five dormitory buildings at the college and assessed the restoration of the toilet and bathrooms in the dormitories for next year.

Allan reported that it was impossible to establish a set team of local workers to be with every team as the sub-district administrator, Mr Rui Gomes, seemed to have the final say on who will work and when.

It seems that he has a system of sharing the work amongst the different villages and organises different teams for each RAWCS team that arrives.

Allan said that as far as local supplies are concerned there is very little available in Natarbora, however the team did discover a local cement brick making firm where we purchased cement bricks at a cost of 25 cents each for the septic tank on the girls' dormitory.

"We will continue to use these for future tanks and for the partitions in the bathrooms next year.

"Local sand was available through the people at the camp from the river at the camp but at a very high price and it was fairly coarse.

"There is a local timber mill in Natarbora but we ordered all of our timber cut to size in Dili and may not need much more timber as we feel that it would be adviseable to use metal wall framing from Bacau to replace missing walls in boys' dorms due to termite problems.

"The camp accommodation worked well especially with the addition of two tables made out of donated doors, and a cupboard on which to mount a laundry tub to wash clothes in.

"It is a good idea for each team to have at least one person that can cook a reasonable meal.

"Provisions were mainly bought in Dili and in Same on the way down to Natarbora where the team stopped for lunch and stocked up on fresh fruit and vegetables at the Same market.

"The Advocates had provided nine mosquito domes for the volunteers and the Minister had provided plenty of good camp beds from the Australian Army Camp in Maliana.

"The work went very well at the college and I must thank Bernard Taylor and Steve Jawerth for unpacking the tools from the container as this saved us many hours of sorting.

"Rui Gomes, the sub-district administrator found us six local workmen, three labourers and three tradesmen.

"We were advised by Graciano, the headmaster to start on the girls' dormitory first and it was in pretty bad shape with many door jambs and window frames eaten out by termites.

"Allan Dawson really got stuck into the flyscreen making 45 altogether which were fitted onto the windows.

"We hung 17 solid core doors which all had to be increased in size and fitted with entrance locks, cleaned down and painted 13 rooms, fitted approx 450 timber louvres and glazed approximately 30 panels of glass.

"Glazing beads and louvres were all painted.

"We also patched about 20 large holes in concrete walkways.

"Three of the toilets in the girls' dormitory were dug out and filled in ready to receive three pans.

"A new septic tank hole and trench were dug by hand and the septic tank bricked up ready to have a lid poured on top and the vent pipe and drainage pipes done. "The pans were later ordered in Dili in readiness for the third team.

"It was a very rewarding experience.

"We intend having a de briefing get together when all three teams return so that we can compare notes and make suggestions for teams next year.

"We need to plan well ahead for the next stage of the project which will be the restoration of the bathrooms in each dormitory and are hoping to apply for an RI grant to restore the water supply to the College," said Allan Elton, RAWCS co-ordinator.

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