By Caroline Burge
Published in the March edition of the Advocate
In October last year The Advocate ran an article about “Beris’s Beanies” which had made their way with some Assumption College students from Kilmore to East Timor. The beanies were so well loved and appreciated, that Beris Hannam continued to knit, and when the opportunity came for a staff member from Assumption to make a visit to Timor in January, another bag of Beris’s Beanies went too.
This time, instead of going to the local school in Laumana, the beanies ended up inadvertently in the western mountain region of Timor Leste and were donated to a number of families who receive assistance from the Jesuit ‘Children’s Feeding Program’ out of the parish in the village of Railaco. Many of these these families suffer poverty, malnutrition and eventually health issues, and any support they can receive is truly appreciated and even life changing.
The car that the group was travelling in was crossing the mountain range from the villages of Balibo and Maliana to the southern village of Bobinaro. As they reached the highest point, they needed an emergency stop at a remote village. The wind was bitter but the welcome and help from the villagers was warm and kind as they welcomed the strangers into their homes. The group was so moved by the unconditional welcome and hospitality that as a way of thanks, the group handed out some of the beanies to the children. Within minutes everyone – men, women and other children came looking for a beanie and so “Beris’s Beanies” became a part of yet another remote community around the world.
The picture taken of the group reflects the happiness and joy that the beanies brought to the families in the very cold and difficult environment in the mountain regions of Timor Leste.