Pam and I were honoured to have chatted with the president the day before we participated in the inaugural Dili 'City of Peace' Marathon. Pam chose the leisurely 5-kilometre run while I signed up for the punishing half marathon - my first and one I hadn't trained for. Together with about 20 other members who signed up with The Chain Reaction Project (TCRP), amongst them our ex-colleague Melanie Oliveiro, we were part of the small Singapore contingent of runners at the landmark event that saw international participants, mostly from Australia (just a 60-min flight away).
The run wasn't the sole purpose (no pun intended) of the trip. Rather, it was a trip with soul! Our particpation to be 'catalysts' through TCRP would benefit HIAM Health - a local NGO in Dili set up to alleviate the widespread problem of malnutrition and to raise awareness among parents on what they can do for their children. Our visit coincided with the official opening of a sponsored playground in the premises by Singapore company Playpoint. Director of HIAM Health Rosaria Martins da Cruz was most heartened by the contributions received. It was TCRP's founder Zhang Tingjun who'd helped raise the awareness of their work to the attention of President Horta. That was how he agreed to be the guest of honour who officiated at the ceremony to open the playground.
Timor Leste has much potential for economic progress and development. With hope in the eyes of a people wanting to move on from the its grim days of civil unrest, with natural resources and an untapped market that could bring in the tourist dollar, Timor Leste has a lot going for it, and it could do with international help to prop it up on its feet and prime it for the long run ahead.
> To keep tabs with more exciting projects planned by The Chain Reaction Project, sign up as a member with TCRP on Facebook!
> To support the good work at HIAM Health, click here.
> To read our previous entry on TCRP, drop by this page.