Alarico is from Dili and has had various experiences of working alongside different causes and organisations throughout the disrupted history of the capital city of Timor Leste. He has worked for the Australian Army in 1999 as an interpreter, for the UN in preparations for the Independence Election of East Timor and for UNPOL for 7 months prior as an interpreter. He heard about opportunities at Bairo Pite Clinic (BPC) through a friend who was in contact with the very first social worker at the clinic, and once he had finished his contract with UNPOL Alarico began to working at the clinic as a volunteer translator. After 6 months Alarico was offered the job of taking over from the previous social worker at BPC, he accepted and has now been a formal member of staff at the clinic since 2003.
There are many different aspects to Alarico’s job, but primarily he works as a counsellor for HIV patients. His usual tasks also include carrying out HIV blood tests, managing referrals to one of two HIV support groups (Estrela+ and Esperanca Group), as well as regularly liaising with the Minister of Health in Dili and reporting to them the number of HIV patients BPC sees each month. He also provides counselling for domestic violence victims and organises support for vulnerable individuals. Alarico is also responsible for organising the official documentation required for patients who travel overseas to seek further medical help, and has himself gone with the patient a number of times as a translator. Alarico also helps to liaise with local charity ROMAC which distributes goods and medical equipment donated from overseas. Although he feels he carries a lot of responsibility in
his role at BPC, Alarico is happy to be involved and enjoys the challenge of keeping up with his various duties.
Promoting HIV awareness is what Alarico really enjoys doing, but he also has a lot of compassion for those already suffering from HIV, which is why he is so good at explaining to HIV patients at BPC the procedures they’ll undertake, the meaning of test results, how HIV is transmitted and what to do to prevent passing it on. Being so directly involved in the HIV unit at BPC means Alarico can make requests for any medicines or equipment the department may be lacking. He also tries to keep in contact with patients between medicine handouts, which happen once a month, and hopes to make sure they continue to take their medicine throughout the month. Contact forms and consultation forms, along with continuous access to the necessary HIV equipment, would help Alarico do his job in a much more succinct manner, but somehow he manages to keep everything in order as it is.
Since beginning his time here at BPC, Alarico has had the opportunity to further his medical knowledge and grasp a good understanding of how a clinic functions and the procedures it encourages. There is still plenty to learn, he says, but he is thankful for the opportunity to build up his capacity in this field.
In the future Alarico would like to continue doing social work as he sees helping people as the most useful profession anyone could ever wish to do. Torn between securing a good income for his family and wanting to study social work further, Alarico can see himself staying at BPC for the time being, even though the circumstances at the clinic can be difficult and less than ideal. He sees his primary calling as helping his fellow Timorese, and now that he feels part of the BPC family, he is more than happy to continue his role at the clinic making a difference each day.