When Dan Murphy decided to move to East Timor in 1998, one of his main concerns was whether he’d be able to play any decent pickup basketball. It’s not that he was unconcerned about the climate in Timor at the time. He knew about its history, that the small island in Southeast Asia had been occupied almost continuously for about 400 years, first somewhat peacefully by the Portuguese and later militarily by Indonesia. He knew that during Indonesia’s occupancy, about one-tenth of the population was killed and another two-tenths fled their homeland as refugees. And he knew that preventable diseases and malnutrition were plaguing the fledgling nation. But to Murphy, those facts weren’t daunting, they were inviting.
So at the age of 54, he left his family medical practice in Iowa and his post as an athletic doctor with Northern Iowa’s athletic department, bade goodbye to his two college-aged sons and flew to East Timor. He packed a small carry-on with clothes, toiletries, a stethoscope and a basketball. He had no plans to return.
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Source Credits: David Gardner in Sports Illustrated. The above photo is of East Timor.. an echo by Erik Bjers.