I was told this week of the passing of Henry, one of those Dili characters that FOS over at Xanana Republic speaks of in his own personal farewell. I met Henry in 2006 when I was looking for an electrician … and I mean someone who actually seemed to understand what he was doing. Some of the local alternatives (not always local either) did not inspire confidence.
So I meet up with this guy one day and ask him if he is interested in doing some electrical work. I had been told he had other things going on in his world like looking after the Dili Backpackers and the Venture Hotel. He grizzled and cursed but finally said alright. And so started an irregular relationship usually kicked off by electrical and/or generator problems. I recall texting him to see if he could come over in a hurry and got back a 2 word response “f*** yes”. That was Henry. I kept that text on my phone for over 12 months and from time to time, showed to others. It always gave me a laugh.
Sometimes I would bump into him at the bar at the Backpackers (the Smokehouse) and sometimes wave as he passed in his beat-up ute. I remember I once asked him to write a little report detailing the problems he had encountered and the work required to fix it. The response was “aw f*** ! Can’t you write it”. I never asked again … and I did write it.
I invited Henry to my own farewell. He came in his usual dishevelled state – shorts, boots and over-used shirt – looking (as usual) like he had just got out bed. He grizzled to me “What am I doing here ? All I have done is fix your electrical problems. I don’t fit in with these people … these are your friends. I won’t stay long.” He was the last to leave and I spoke to him longer than anyone else.
That was the last time I saw Henry. I think he actually felt chuffed to have been invited. No Henry, I was chuffed that you came – like every other time I had a problem. You usually grizzled, nearly always cursed but you always came.