I decided to write this paragraph as a separate blog entry because I thought these people deserved it. Doing the interviews, while it was hard work (not just for me but for Herminio, interpreting, the awesome Gender Focal Point and District Administrator, and everyone who was interviewed), was so rewarding.
It wasn’t just because the interviews went well, although that is fabulous. It was actually extremely humbling to get to talk to older people of these little communities, because they have all lived through Portuguese and Indonesian times. Two of the older women’s husbands were killed ‘in the Indonesian times’, they said, and one of them also had a son killed during these times. ‘During Indonesian times’ is code for ‘by the Indonesian military’, of course. A small part of my research is on the differences between Portuguese times, Indonesian times and now in terms of the cultural practice I’m studying, and I so appreciated that these women could tell me this part of their story.