Michael Hughes and Ger White
Mon 1 Aug 2011 07:45
We left Kupang this morning--Monday--sailing to Lembata to anchor below the smoking volcano, Ili Api.
We spent nearly a week in Kupang--noisy bustling city, full of shops and vendors--no time to rest between parties given by the Mayor, another by the Governor--meeting people etc. We hired a car with some others--plus driver--and spent a day seeing the countryside, villages etc. very poor, living in bamboo huts etc. But everyone very friendly, smiling faces. Visited local museum--this is where Captain Bligh came ashore after his 40 days in an open boat after the mutiny--fantastic navigation!
Yesterday we visited an orphanage run by Alfonso. The orphanage was founded by his parents, he now does most of the running with help from relatives. We were taken to the rice fields that the children maintain, the small school for the orphans, their animals and vegetables--it was a humbling experience. There are 92 children from 2 monthe to 18 years, sleeping 3 to a bed in 2 bedrooms--one for boys, other for girls--few possessions. Yet they were well dressed to meet us, confident and smiling, well behaved and friendly. Alfonso explained that some of their past orphans had now been through University, had good jobs and now helped support the orphanage financially. And the older ones talked to us in English with confidence--despite the deprivations they all seemed happy and well adjusted--Alfonso is an unusually caring person.
When we got back to the anchorage, Alfonso asked if he could see our boat--he had never been on one!! We took him out in the dinghy and showed him round the boat--his eyes were like saucers!!
All well on board.