Trek for Timor trio hit their strides

The Blue Mountains Virtual Trek for Timor took off this month.

This year the youngest trekker is Jasper Finch from the Illawarra, who at six years old, has already completed 38km of his 50km goal.

A couple of his walks have been 6km long, one with many ups and downs.

Jasper is "walking to raise money for Timor Leste and give to the schools. Because the schools are poor and I want to help make them a bigger school with lots of pencils, books, tables and chairs, toys and games".

He said that "his cousins have lots of money and could probably sponsor him for 50 cents each."

He has now passed his fundraising goal of $1000 and is still walking to raise more funds for Timor Leste before the end of the month.

Putting out the challenge to be the wisest trekker is Blue Mountains resident Jana Mader, who at 76 years young is walking 100km over October in memory of an adventurous journey in Timor in 1972.

The retired maths teacher, recalls the trip "We wanted to go to the Olympic Games in Munich and didn't have the money to purchase an airline ticket, so we decided to travel overland. We flew from Darwin to Baucau (in East Timor). From there we travelled to Dili, then through the mountains to Bobonaro, Maliana, and Balibo. Most of the time we travelled from one Portuguese army post to other getting lifts on trucks, jeeps or walking."

As well as travelling across East Timor, Jana and her then husband had to walk to cross the border from Timor to Indonesia. "Portuguese Timor was not on friendly terms with Indonesia and there was not transport between these two countries. We had to walk for more than 20km to get from Batugate to Atapupa. I remember the locals everywhere in Timor were nice gentle people."

And the highest fundraiser so far is filmmaker Louise Wadley with more than $6000 already collected. She was stuck in quarantine in a hotel in Sydney when she decided to do her virtual trek in her hotel room.

Ms Wadley often took part in the Blue Mountains Trek for Timor previously when living in Sydney and now lives in the UK. In quarantine in order to visit her mother who had been unwell seemed a great opportunity for her to "stay sane and raise money for Timor Leste" for education and women's development projects. She completed her trek all in one evening.

The Trek for Timor Committee has thanked all trekkers and sponsors for their support, including major sponsor Hobbs Plumbing and Bathroom Company.

"We know that this year has been difficult for everyone so we really appreciate everyone's efforts and donations. Even small donation amounts can add up to a lot of help in East Timor," said committee member Susan Ambler.

Visit www.trekfortimorbm.org.au for more info or to donate.

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