East Timorese name: Manuel
Place of origin: Possibly Baucau
I was wounded during the fighting, sometime in 1979, but I don’t remember anything about it. Soldiers rescued me and took me to the Seroja institution in Dili.
My earliest memories are of living in Seroja: a large room with a big fan in the middle, a tall tree in the front, and a big back yard. I was probably about five years old and maybe lived there for a year.
Because there was no rehabilitation treatment in East Timor, I was sent to Jakarta. This was organised by the Indonesian Red Cross and an Indonesia military doctor, Dr. Saronto Martoyudo. Two other East Timorese children wounded in the fighting, one other boy and a girl, were also sent to Jakarta at the same time as me. I remember we were taken to the Dili airport by staff members from Seroja, Mrs Selva and Mr Mario.
In Jakarta we received treatment at the Gatot Subroto military hospital. When we left hospital we lived for some time with the doctor who brought us from East Timor. Then we all were sent to a residential school for disabled children, Yayasan Pembinaan Anak Cacat (YPAC), in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta. We all received good medical treatment and a good education.
Learning about East Timor and family
The doctor invited us sometimes to visit him and, although he has died, we still have contact with his family. He told us that we were wounded when Fretilin attacked our villages. The soldiers found one of us hiding behind a wall and the other hiding in a hole. The girl was wounded in her eye. The doctor showed us photos he had of East Timor. They were taken in the jungle. But he never told us anything about the villages where the soldiers found us.
When I was older I tried to find out what I could about my family. I read in my file at school that I came from the area around Baucau. A long time ago I saw a year book for 1980 or 1981 from the Indonesian Red Cross. It had some information with photos, but I don’t know how I could find that again.
I would like to find my family. I don’t know if my parents are still alive. Sometime I want to go back to East Timor, to look for them and see East Timor for myself.