Dili is not built-up in the way of the others. There are some large buildings, most built in Portuguese architectural style, but very few exceed a couple of storeys. The Catholic cathedral is the largest building in town, and I find its size and austerity offensive. Housing is predominantly constructed from bamboo and corrugated iron, and many structures are built on riverbanks that don’t look like they’d see out a high tide. If I had to make a comparison, the closest I have seen to Dili is on some townships of Laos, but still in Laos there is more visible wealth.
Now on our fourth day in Dili I am amazed how quickly we have settled in. And also how familiar our companions, now friends, feel to us despite the stilted language. They are warm and welcoming with a ready smile, a handshake or kiss, and they are grateful for whatever we can offer. It is a pleasure and a privilege to be here.
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