Barry's Place on Atauro

 ETHICAL TOURISM – PLAY YOUR PART! The locals of Atauro are humble and proud, economically challenged yet dignified, religious, and a joyous people. Their traditional culture, language, customs and knowledge are strong. They are poor but rich in life. Do not feel sorry for them; there is nothing to feel sorry for, as their lives are full and they are genuinely happy. They sing at the drop of a hat.
Our Atauro ‘family’ have asked for assistance in the areas they feel their government hasn’t responded adequately. Our aim is to provide assistance which builds on the richness and strengths of peoples’ way of life, without creating a mentality of welfare or aid dependency. We believe that however well intentioned, handouts and donations may discourage people from coming up with their own solutions and innovations to their local issues. In order for a program or project to be sustainable and successful, a continuous trusting and transparent relationship is vital.
Accordingly, our lodge has always supported Atauro’s local communities through a simple process of trust, respect, transparency and the willingness to listen to the Ataurians’ requests, differentiating between what is a ‘need’ or a ‘want’. We engage the Chefe Aldeia, Chefe Suco, Administrator (sub-district), local police, nurses, teachers, NGOs, Church leaders and community in an ongoing dialogue about their future. Where they are going as a community and what they identify as important to them. Not what we think should be important!
We, as an economic hub on Atauro, are obliged to walk with our community and provide opportunities for them to meet their own needs or achieve their own goals and vision. This we do through forming links with organisations, aiding local networking, gathering information, educating and providing economic assistance for programs/projects.
By walking together with the Atauro community we are giving them the power, knowledge and right to choose what is best for them. How they wish for ‘things to evolve’, in their time (i.e. Timor time/coconut time/Atauro o’clock) The Atauro people come from an oral tradition. Therefore information, stories and knowledge passed down and along generations aren’t always 100 percent accurate or true. There are many shades of grey in the truth of a ‘story’. Hence ‘seeing is believing’ is integral to the relationship and success of a project or program, through to its’ completion. ‘Ita hein hare!’ (Let’s wait and see!) is commonly heard at the beginnings of a project as the locals ‘size up’ the situation and all involved. Like all who live in this Global Village, the Atauro people know that their children are their future. Education, health, church, livelihoods (fisheries, agriculture) arts and crafts, sport and music are their highest priorities. In keeping with these community priorities, our lodge has:
• Supported 5 local young people at university for 6 years; 4 in Jogjakarta, 1 in Cuba, with assistance from Emmaus College Rockhampton, Qld, Australia (2005-2013)
• Raised awareness and funds in Australia for the re-connection of our village water supply with assistance from St Vincent de Paul, Emerald, Qld, Australia. The community supplied free labour and now enjoys reliable access to clean water. (2005)
• Raised awareness and funds for training trainers in Permaculture, seeds, seed collection, water pumps and tools. Assistance from Rob Swain and Julianne Hartmann. (2005,2006)
• Assisted in the supply of funds for and installation of a ‘Skyjuice’ water filtration system at the Community Health Clinic in Vila and another in Maquili village, with assistance from Australian Aid International (AAI) (2007)
• Assisted in the supply and installation of a solar power system at the clinic in Anartutu, Makadade with assistance from Australian Aid International (AAI) (2007 )
• Raised awareness and funds for the rehabilitation of the Junior High School’s staffroom and office and the local Beloi community centre with assistance from Rockhampton Diocese, Qld, Australia (2007)
• Resourced, painted and provided furniture for our local Beloi kindergarten 'Naroman' with assistance from Margaret River Rotary club. (2010)
• Donated and installed a playground and water pump together with the Margaret River schoolies 2011 and 2012 for our local kindergarten 'Naroman'. With assistance from Margaret River Rotary club.
• Installed a battery back-up and solar system for the Atauro Senior High School donated by the Margaret River schoolies 2012 in order to charge their 10 laptops donated by this group for the teachers to do computer courses.
• Donated soccer and volleyball uniforms and equipment to various clubs across the island, yearly. (Annual donation)
• Donated to local musicians and carvers in order to exhibit their talents and culture in Dili at Expos and festivals. (Annual donation)
• Used guests and our lodge's donations to purchase a brick making machine on request from our village chief of Beloi (2013), to create youth employment and livelihoods. We encourage non-local construction companies to buy locally.
• Assisted with hospitality and eco-tourism training with NGO Haburas Moris of Maliana who had funds to establish an eco-tourism venture with the local community at the hot-springs in Maliana (2013)
• Construction of a Multi-purpose Court (Volleyball/Basketball court) in 2013 for the Beloi village Primary school with the 2013 Margaret River Schoolies and Margaret River Rotary and Lions club. Cost $5000
• Worked with Bairo-pite clinic from Dili, installing, trialling and reporting on a prototype water filter system (Rota Pota) in Beloi village. Donated from Rotary Australia and the ‘Men’s Shed’. (2013)
• Added a Futsal court in 2014 to the Multi-purpose Court (now a Volleyball/Basketball/Futsal court) for the Beloi village primary school. $1000 Donation from Radford College, Canberra.
• Assisted with the logistics and distribution of 35 laptops and school resources across Atauro in 2014, donated by the 2013 Margaret River Schoolies (Leavers) and Margaret River Rotary and Lions club.
• Assisted with the logistics and distribution of 25 laptops for the Atauro Senior High-School’s computer lab (Eskola Secundaria 99 de Atauro) Donated by All Saints College Perth with Margaret River Rotary and Lions club. To be managed and instructed by ‘Ba Futuru’ NGO.
• Organised and funded the inaugural Atauro Schools’ aerobic/gymnastics competition for the 20th May Independence celebrations. 115 students across 8 local schools participated. Cost $1000 The lodge has also created jobs for housekeepers, builders, tour guides, fishermen, farmers, kiosk owners and bakers. Visitors to the lodge also help support local shops and artisans on Atauro Island. We are often asked by our guests how they might contribute to the needs as defined by our local communities on Atauro Island. At present our lodge is currently working on:
• Designing and developing a community strategy for a Locally Managed Marine Area (LMMA) with our community on the reef opposite the jetty/pier. Estimated financial target $2000. World Fish are trialling Fish Attracting Devices (FAD’s) as an alternate fishing environment to this reef. Local NGO, Empreza-Diak, are presently designing an aquaculture, pond system, to farm Tilapia fish for local consumption.
• Gathering information and networking towards acquiring a new microscope for Atauro's Medical Clinic (Community Health centre) as well as medical equipment (stethoscopes, blood pressure kits, scales etc). We have received 2 ‘pre-loved’ microscopes to date. One was broken in transit, the other is currently being used but of poor quality for malarial and dengue identification.
• Gathering donations towards the cost of materials for rehabilitating 3 widows homes in Beloi village. The local community through their church will provide all labour and some local materials.
• Working with the Atauro community to establish a local Tourism association in order to have one ‘voice’ in negotiating with relevant Timorese Government departments, to ensure that local opinion and desires are adhered to when discussing the future direction of tourism on ‘GREEN’ Atauro. (No Casinos please!)
• Working with the local education authorities to help resource Atauro’ Kindergardens, Primary schools, Middle schools, Senior schools, SOLS English school and Kristal University with laptops, solar systems, sporting equipment and general classroom supplies in order to enhance our Atauro children’s limited learning experience.
• Supporting the ‘Feto Atauro’ (Women of Atauro) initiative which aims to build the capacity and potential of local Atauro women through creating opportunities to create and form Village (Suco) networks to disseminate information, training, guest speakers and dignitaries.
• Introducing, educating and training local women to understand the health benefits of aerobic exercise through ‘Zumba’ dance routines. Providing health promotion information on women’s health issues and concerns. If you would like to make a donation towards any specific programs we are currently supporting, please have a chat with Barry or Lina.

Due to the sporadic and unreliable internet connection (as well as our lifestyle), Barry's Place on Atauro regrets to advise that we are unable to do any online bookings and ask our guests to please make bookings via phone or SMS on +670 7723 6084. Thanks for your understanding and co-operation. Warm regards, Barry and Lina Hinton


Contact: Barrys Place on Atauro, Dili, Timor-Leste, Phone or SMS +670 7723 6084 or +670 77441101