Isidoro V. da Costa, JRS-Timor Leste – Project Director; JRS- Asia Pacific Issue 75, PO Box 49, Sanampao Post Office, Bangkok 10406, Thailand 28/11/09
Mrs. Elisa is an old widowed woman. Her husband was a Timorese soldier during the Portuguese colonial time. When Indonesian troops invaded Timor Leste (after independence in 1975) she and her husband fled with their son to the mountains. Soon after, her husband left them to continue to fight and defend their country. Their son later died and Mrs. Elisa and her husband returned to Dili where they subsequently adopted two boys.
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Mrs. Elisa’s husband passed away in 1990, leaving her with the two young children. To make ends meet, Mrs. Elisa earned money by selling vegetables and cakes. One of her boys now is married and has his own children, but he lives far from his mother. The other son has a physical disability and is dependent on her.
So in Mrs. Elisa’s old age life’s worry is far from over; she is nearing her time and knows it, yet she has the burden of the care of her disabled son. During the 2006 crisis in Timor Leste Mrs. Elisa and her son had to flee and seek refuge in Canossa Balide. When they returned to Dili later they found that their house had been burned and the local community did not accept them. They had no place to go. Destitute and desperate, Elisa gave up all hope of living the rest of her days peacefully.
JRS heard about Elisa’s situation and visited her. After discussion with the local village head a suitable place was found and a small house was built for her and her son.
“I have been living alone and thought that there is no one who could help us. But JRS together with Village Head have helped me and built a house for us. I am very happy that there are some people who want to help me. I cannot repay their good deeds, only God will do so.”