Terry Lyes

Volunteer: Terry Lyes


A writer and storyteller with a few careers under his belt not working to become a nurse practitioner.  If you enjoy my stories please feel free to visit the blog I wrote while in service at jerktimor.blogspot.com.  

My third goal service is limited to these stories due to the rigors of schooling but I am happy to coorespond with anyone interested in joining the corps or those who have questions about how things were in East Timor or the developing world.

2004 - 2005

Contributions from Terry Lyes

  1. East Timor Talk to a drunken Volunteer: Elvis and the Little Cat Story

    “So it’s right after a bank day right, so I’ve got a pocket of money.  And no one is waiting for me in my site so I stop over in Maubisi and I go over to see Betty and I’m like, want some whiskey? Not like I had to twist her arm. So I pour some myself this big glass and sit down, it’s evening so I can crash on the floor. Well Betty has this little cat.  It’s half grown cute, like cats are, and it’s jumping around and goes out the window.  I’m about to enjoy this drink, my first, and we hear ...

  2. East Timor Two Groups

    Today was the first day of proper teacher training and I have finally gotten the hang of separating the Timorese into groups.  I have tried many things and this one seems to work the fastest with the fewest hurt feelings. In the first training of trainers I assumed that grouping was an instinctual skill set.  And before I knew it I had caused a mess. I need to remember that everything is capacity.  We had a game which required the participants to be in two groups, not because they were com...

  3. East Timor Talk to a peace corps trainer: Giving up.

    It seems like my whole life was about sitting in training, itching and wishing I had something to eat.  This was a mixed blessing because the rash and the starving were the only things keeping the afternoon swelter from putting me to sleep.  Every so often I would tune back in to our shocks and sandal training coordinator to make sure I didn’t miss something I thought was relevant.  I was excited when I heard his normally hopeful voice drop an octave and become brittle.   I wait on these ...

  4. East Timor Love and Handwriting

    There is not a word in English or Tetun, the ancient agricultural language of Timor, that describes how the Timorese teachers at out training feel about my handwriting.  All of the teachers turn in evaluations or the rare assignment they use an exquisite cursive script.  It looks like everything they write is an invitation to a wedding.  And here’s me with a fetid, scurvy, mush of letters better suited to tearful break ups and serial killers.   Horrified does not cover their distaste, la di...

  5. East Timor Knock Knock.

      Today my Alim Cansio had a bunch of friends roughly our age over.  They had two big containers of palm wine.  Cansio killed a chicken and tossed onto the coals of a fire feathers and all.  It cooked quickly and dried out.  Soon we were breaking off delicious stringy meat and drinking. The day was too hot for drink and soon I was loopy.  Cansio’s friends kept quizzing me about life in America.  I scrolled through my foggy mind for something interesting and decided to explain knock knock jok...

  6. East Timor Concerning Poop

    Let me first address the smelly elephant in the room, our good friend poop.  In America poop is a private thing.  We take it to another room and modulate its thickness and or frequency with a variety of pills and powders.  People who have trouble with their poop will take a day off work complaining of a cold or some other, less embarrassing, trouble.  And in return our stable American poop agrees to keep to a normal range of colors and consistencies. Not so in Timor.  Poop, its frequ...

  7. East Timor Evacuation

    I sat, silent, amazed at the beauty.  I have been overwhelmed by the grandeur of this island nation, the beaches and the mountains and the sky.  I have been shocked by the contrast between rich and poor and with the rush of hunger and anger.  But this… Last night.  54 volunteers were told that they are going home.  That we are going home. That the plane is coming at 5 am.  They yelled and sobbed and laughed and drank and danced.  I wanted to be sober, untired for each moment.  It has been l...

  8. East Timor Fire and Aunger

      Interim service training for the fifth group of volunteers in the small island nation of East Timor.    There is a rumor going around that this training has been rushed through approvals because of the high level of early terminations in our group, nearly a third of our number and only five months in site.  The venue is an idyllic convent high enough in the mountain to get a breeze but close enough to walk to a beach.  The food is sumptuous and the company exquisite.  We have one training a...

  1. East Timor Turn back the tide.

    As a way to thank the famalies who helped in out training the PCV's of TL-5 decided to throw a party.  Everyone liked the dancing and food.  Introducing a pinata in a child rich, candy poor community, however, took a quick turn for the worse. Telling a mob of children who only have candy once a year that they can have a lot of candy if they his something with a stick, not our best idea.

  2. East Timor Fallen Monument

    When the Indonesian occupation force left Eat Timor in 2000 the destroyed infrasturcture and ornament.  This fallen statue in baucau remains an excellent place to sit and hawk phone cards

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“Sunset at the Railroad” by PCV Nicholas Baylor Hall. Namibia, 2011.