Children of Lafaek


Landless Drifter

“Lafaek” is the Tetun word for crocodile and it is sacred for the Timorese. Legend says that the land is the body of the lafaek; the whole island of Timor is shaped like one–the lower body is West Timor and the head is East Timor. Whichever comes first–the legend or the map–lafaek is deeply embedded into the life and culture of the Timorese then and now.

The map of Timor-Leste is shaped like a crocodile’s head

Timorese-7 Timorese boys at Dili Beach

There may be several versions but this is the widely told and most concise story of the legend about The Boy and Crocodile, now a children’s book sold for the benefit of orphans in Timor-Leste.

Once there was a crocodile who dreamed of becoming a big crocodile. To follow his dream, he set off for the sea to find more food. Still far from the shore and under…

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