No website about the Friends of Suai friendship is complete without a profile on Graci or Graciano Gusmao who quietly works away supporting everybody and anybody to help get his community back on it's feet. This series of photographs will give you an idea of what I mean. Graci drives us around, fixes things, installs things, learns how things work so he can help people who don't have the same access or the same skills, or both. At first he pretended not to learn English on principle, preferring to try and get us all to learn Tetun. At some point he has learned English through exposure, or he has decided that he can be more helpful with the language, I have never asked him. I noticed more English and more nodding in understanding in 2008 and Pat reported he was speaking to her in English when she was there in February. Graci was one of the people Egy included in the first Video Workshop - probably because he knew he could learn it quickly and pass on his knowledge to others. I got to know him better then. He always has Radio Taroman playing on his car radio or a tape in for our pleasure and his. In the class I discovered Graci is incredibly democratic - always inclusive and willing to help others and he wasn't shy about reprimanding others if he thought they were being rude or unfair. He is truly a man of the people with little interest in power but with a great curiosity and great capacity. His great love is architecture and the radio. He drew the first maps John Collins obtained of Covalima and he drew maps to help plan radio reception across the districts. He is absolutely beautiful with children and it's impossible to drive around Suai without waves and smiles from people along the way who know him. Everybody knows everybody in Suai but this man is apparently well-loved. You can meet Graci in the social network. Top left: helping Nata at CC. Graci DJ, Graci's first look at the video camera, playing with Baby Barretto. Bottom left. Thinking about schedule, showing radio reception areas, fiddling with mixer, teaching Lin.
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