Roger Bowen: Passion and Politics

Roger Bowen, far left with other Australians in Maliana and Kevin Rudd
Roger Bowen, a paramedic from Hazelbrook, who is volunteering with Palms Australia and Maliana Hospital in East Timor, was surprised last week to be visited by Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd.

“On the weekend i was fortunate enough to meet Jose Ramos Horta [Timor-Leste’s President] and Kevin Rudd and the Australian ambassador, Miles Armitage. They came by helicopter to visit the Seeds of Life agricultural project.”

“AusAID wanted all the Australian volunteers to attend to meet Kevin. At the last minute Jose Ramos Horta decided to accompany K.R. so we all got to meet them both and have a quick chat.”

It was a fairly exciting experience for the volunteers who work with local partners to develop Australia’s closest neighbours, giving years of service with little reward.

In a country with few resources, volunteers help by bringing expertise requested by Timorese organisations. In his role as a Palms Volunteer, Roger provides  daily practical training sessions, for nursing staff/ambulance drivers and medical students, in the hope of building a sustainable health service for Maliana and the rural areas serviced by its hospital and ambulances.

Mr Rudd, as Foreign Minister, oversees the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).  AusAID and Palms Australia have recently partnered to provide 20 more volunteers to overseas development projects.

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As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems. Inequality is the root of social ills. - Pope Francis (Joy of the Gospel 202)