General Meetings are held at the Starboard Galley on River Road in Newburyport typically on the first and third Tuesdays in a month.
The May 21, 2019 meeting welcomed a new member, Regina Correia Branco, a retired bursar from Northern Essex
Community College, sponsored by Patty McGrath.
Marcos Pinto was introduced by Christin Walth, a past speaker, who is hosting Marcos on his stay in Newburyport, sponsored by USAID in the hopes of “promoting new leaders rather than fighting wars later.” For 450 years, Timor was a colony of Portugal, said Christin, “and not in a benevolent
way.” The half-island won independence in 1973 but was subsequently overtaken by Indonesia before
regaining independence in 2002 as Timor-Leste – the youngest nation in Asia “and perhaps the world.”
With 49% unemployment, the nation faces terrible poverty, though families take in relatives to prevent homelessness. Many children eat three meals a day of rice porridge. Life is particularly difficult in the dry season and in rural areas. Food is the number-one import for the nation of 1.3 million. Marcos, who is here to study U.S. responses to assorted social issues, described the issue of early marriage and childbirth in his own country and the need for better nutrition to raise healthier babies. The Timor-Leste political structure includes a president, a prime minister, a parliament and the judiciary, but the system is unstable with frequent scrapping of programs in each new administration.
The May 7, 2019 meeting saw a visit from division director, Corrine Corso, serving on the evening in the role of Michael B. Christensen Family and Community Support Center board member to accept our donation of $1,000 to the New England District’s prevention of child abuse center and model.