The Beautiful Spirit Of Timor Endures From The Shadows Of History

As Tour de Timor 2016 passes through, happy faces line the streets.

The first thing you notice is the broad smiles on their faces.

Travelling through the north-eastern side of Timor-Leste, the country is steadily recovering from years of oppression and violence. Yet remnants of 1999 anti-independence militia attacks and the 2006 coup are visible only in the shadows of the spirit of the Timorese people.

There is palpable joy on the streets at this time of year; a genuine warmth among the locals. The Tour de Timor mountain bike race is making its way through the country. The gruelling five-day race is known as one of the toughest in South East Asia. Riders navigate tough terrain in a harsh and humid climate. And the Timorese crowd loves it.

Passing through villages, locals greet visitors with a genuine smile that only widens when returned.

Four school girls laugh and play as they make their way down to the Tour de Timor 2016 finish line. Baucau, Timor-Leste.
Four school girls laugh and play as they make their way down to the Tour de Timor 2016 finish line. Baucau, Timor-Leste.
Caught in a kid-stampede as these boys got some serious air making their way down to see riders come in at Tour de Timor 2016. Baucau, Timor-Leste.
Caught in a kid-stampede as these boys got some serious air making their way down to see riders come in at Tour de Timor 2016. Baucau, Timor-Leste.
Buses and trucks spill at the sides with passengers. Just your standard form of Transport in Timor. Baucau, Timor-Leste.
Buses and trucks spill at the sides with passengers. Just your standard form of Transport in Timor. Baucau, Timor-Leste.
These gorgeous girls look like a mirror image as they wave 'hi' to the camera. Baucau, Timor-Leste.
These gorgeous girls look like a mirror image as they wave 'hi' to the camera. Baucau, Timor-Leste.
AUSMAT Australian doctor, Alex Swann, chats to some of the kids as he awaits riders at the finish line. Baucau, Timor-Leste.
AUSMAT Australian doctor, Alex Swann, chats to some of the kids as he awaits riders at the finish line. Baucau, Timor-Leste.
Local Timorese kids check out AUSMAT Paramedic, Peter Jones, motorbike as he finishes his final shift following riders through the hot and rough terrain of Tour de Timor 2016. Baucau, Timor-Leste.
Local Timorese kids check out AUSMAT Paramedic, Peter Jones, motorbike as he finishes his final shift following riders through the hot and rough terrain of Tour de Timor 2016. Baucau, Timor-Leste.
Everywhere you go in Timor the people will meet you with a genuine smile. The joy is infectious. Baucau, Timor-Leste.
Everywhere you go in Timor the people will meet you with a genuine smile. The joy is infectious. Baucau, Timor-Leste.
Spot the favourite. This gorgeous girl is adored by her siblings and friends. Baucau, Timor-Leste.
Spot the favourite. This gorgeous girl is adored by her siblings and friends. Baucau, Timor-Leste.
These young riders were more than comfortable striking a pose as they wait for Tour de Timor 2016 athletes to come through. Baucau, Timor-Leste.
These young riders were more than comfortable striking a pose as they wait for Tour de Timor 2016 athletes to come through. Baucau, Timor-Leste.
These women gather with their daughters and sons outside of the church at the finish line of Tour de Timor 2016. They wait and watch riders finish before making their way to service. Baucau, Timor-Leste.
These women gather with their daughters and sons outside of the church at the finish line of Tour de Timor 2016. They wait and watch riders finish before making their way to service. Baucau, Timor-Leste.
A relieved and spent rider comes through the finish line at Tour de Timor 2016. It's 5 days of rough terrain in hot, tropical climate. Baucau, Timor-Leste.
A relieved and spent rider comes through the finish line at Tour de Timor 2016. It's 5 days of rough terrain in hot, tropical climate. Baucau, Timor-Leste.
This boy is transfixed on the finish line as his sister calls him into church. Baucau, Timor-Leste.
This boy is transfixed on the finish line as his sister calls him into church. Baucau, Timor-Leste.
These girls peak through to see what the AUSMAT medical team get up to. Baucau, Timor-Leste.
These girls peak through to see what the AUSMAT medical team get up to. Baucau, Timor-Leste.
This little man waits patiently at the finish line of Tour de Timor 2016. The race brings a new town to life each day it passes through the 5 stages. Baucau, Timor-Leste.
This little man waits patiently at the finish line of Tour de Timor 2016. The race brings a new town to life each day it passes through the 5 stages. Baucau, Timor-Leste.

The Huffington Post Australia was in Timor following the National Critical Care and Trauma Response team as they use the Tour de Timor 2016 race to train medical staff for disaster response.