How did you come to work for the United Nations?
The polling went smoothly, without interruption. Afterward, we brought the ballot box to the office, and then transferred [the ballots] to Dili for counting. On September 4, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced the polling result and declared that independence had been chosen by the East Timorese people. Unfortunately, the security situation was going out of control in Dili, Baucau, and several other places.
The next day we got instructions for evacuation; we were to be moved to Baucau. In the morning, we were escorted by the Indonesian military and they were behind us, and front and center. And we saw the people were really sad. When I was leaving, my housemate said that the minute we left, the militia would kill them. I don’t know whether they were killed or are still alive. It was one of the saddest moments, because East Timor had become independent. Wherever we saw people, they were scared and they didn’t want us to leave.
Read other interviews like Shobhakar's in Speaking Their Peace.