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 Timor Leste (East Timor)
■Organizing the sports event (2008/12/25)

Organizing the sports event

Hello, everyone on the other side of the Internet. I am Hisae Shiwa, the project coordinator in East Timor. After arriving here on November 10th, without much time to adjust, Mr. Bunya Fujimoto, the Project Administrator, and I got engaged in organizing the sports event for the youth, starting from December 1. Let me share our experience on the preparation of the event.

During the preparation stage, we seemed to have encountered the first obstacle of working in this country. The winners of the games so far have received the prizes from the events. Ideas on what materials to provide of the sports coach and us did not coordinate, and we had to explain our logic and keep asking their opinions. Compromising to give what they have presented would mean that we promote the kind of events where the players expect to receive materials in return. Mr. Fujimoto and I thought that we had to avoid organizing the events that offer that kind of connotation. Through repetitive discussions, we learned that the events sponsored by Ministry of Education sometimes offer even cash as a prize and the sports players in this country do not feel strange playing sports for a thing. We were confused by its custom and the opinions of the staff. At the same time, I wondered, strategy of the extrinsic motivation could be appropriate, considering the political situation in the past and the limited living conditions in this country. Negotiation was challenging for us who do not yet understand completely about this country. The sports coaches said that they promised the team leaders on the items without our acknowledgement and they warned us that the players might get violent if the needs are not met. They did not agree easily with our suggestion. But listening to the two staffs separately, we discovered that they carry different opinions. This approach led to the agreement on the materials and they even showed smiles when admitting the list of items presented by Mr. Fujimoto. The communication with a few Tetun words and English through the new interpreter was surely not easy; however, I was moved to see that we became to understand each other’s opinion and finally reached to compromise.

The ambassador of Japan and a representative of UNICEF attended the opening ceremony of the tournament and made speech in Tetun, which promoted the positive reaction from the community. The event was followed by volleyball, basketball, and soccer games. One group of volleyball was of the mothers in the community and their participation facilitates the dynamics of the tournament.?

On December 6, the last day of the tournament, the entire crowd watched the final soccer match. The both of the teams showed quite a technique and everybody approached to the goal to observe the penalty kick closely. The PK was competitive and thus exciting as all the players had good concentration. When the last kick missed the goal, we heard the whistle and the all the games were finished. Right after that moment, a stone fell on the head of a girl who was in front of me. Somebody has thrown it at random and fell on her head. This is the typical behavior of the young in this country since the conflict in the past. But why? It looked like the people are excited and emotional by the PK and throwing stone is one of the ways they express their feelings. When I started to walk back to the office, one or two small stones were thrown at me as well. Although they are small, it did hurt and nobody deserves that kind of treatment. Looking around, the players are congratulating their mates and the people are smiling. I felt that this is one of their habits and it would be difficult to change the behavior they are accustomed to. I think that not only teaching the subjects in school, but also moral education to learn right from wrong and life skill education to learn how to control their feelings are crucial for the youth in this country.

To help the youth of Timor-Leste grow with peace, the first step is to understand them through a quality of communication. I would like to keep learning more Tetun and use the language skills to have a dialogue with them. Although there are still a lot of problems in youth education, we also would like to grow by learning with the youth and our staff members. In those struggles, I believe that there is something important for the future of Timorese children. I hope that you continue to be updated on the information from Timor-Leste and to support our project.

Hisae Shiwa, Project Coordinator

 
 
 
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