Friday, March 2, 2012

Things have changed in this school

Grade 4 students wave happily before they enter their classes which start at 10:30am
©UNICEF/Timor-Leste 2012/Fdosreis
“I began as a teacher here in 2000,” Mr. Luis Mario de Silva, 40 years old, said quietly. “In 2008, I was made the Director of the School.”  He also shyly adds, “I am also now the Director of Basic Education since I was appointed to the position in 2010.” 

To Mr. de Silva, being the director of the school is a serious responsibility.  It does not matter that to get to this school, a sturdy four-wheel drive car needs to go through the mountain road from the Ermera District’s capital town of Gleno for close to 1 and half hours.  The road to Licapat hugs the side of the mountain range --- weaving and following the contour of the mountains ---  one side of the road showing gapping ravine and on the other side, soil and rock that could obviously be weakened and loosened by intermittent rain.  Despite the seemingly treacherous road, the scene is picturesque with scattered stone-built homes, green tree tops and a rolling valley below. The school itself is carved on the mountainside and could easily be missed as it is off the main road.