Friday, July 11, 2008

Reader profiles: Reni and Anata

Anata (left) and Reni (right)

Reni and Anata both work at Motion, a cafe and club in Mercado Lama, Dili. Motion is a pretty cool place, it's been around for a few years now in various forms and, for some inexplicable reason, it is empty every night of the week except Thursday when the entire expat community of Dili turns out and literally hundreds of people pack in there until you can barely move.

Reni used to work at the bar, but now spends most of her time overseeing the cafe. She is 20 years old and has been working at Motion since she graduated high school. She lives in a kost (boarding house) just down the road from the bar. Her family still live in Same, an inland town on the south side of East Timor.

Anata is the cook at Motion and has been there for over three years now. She's only 19 so you can do the math. Her parents passed away a few years ago so she went to work after finishing primary school. While most of her siblings live in the mountain town of Ermera, she has saved up enough money to have her own house down by the airport. She also takes care of her younger brother who goes to school in Dili.

I lent them a chick-lit book and a couple of horror books for the manager's younger brothers last week, but they had read them all three of them between them by the time I dropped by for lunch today. With much embarrassment they admitted to buying and reading crappy Indonesian romance novels from Colmera now and then, but normally they just read the newspapers that they have for sale. They also like to read Lafaek (CARE International's excellent bi-monthly children's publication) which they borrow from their younger siblings who get it from school. Reni said that when she was in high school the nuns that were her teachers lent her some Tetum books they had bought on Timorese culture, but other than that neither of them had ever read any Tetum books.

Reni said that she doesn't normally like to read horror books (she says she was scared to walk home alone after reading the novelisation of 40 Hari Bangkitnya Pocong) but picked them up because they were around. As both of them have good jobs and a little spending money they both said they'd buy a Tetum novel if one were published.

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