Friday, November 28, 2008

Quilting Progress

It's been a good week for finishing things and getting more tops ready to quilt. I'm working on putting these blocks into a top and I love the strong colours. They actually look much better in daylight too.
I've also managed to spend a day putting 5 more tops together. Three of them just needed borders added to make them larger and two were sets of blocks to put together into a top. I'm using this as a means of tidying up my sewing room but my DH says that's like "shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic" and I must admit that although I get lots of quilts made each year, it's hard to see much progress in the tidying of the sewing space.
I'm grateful that I don't have to keep the quilts when they're finished as I really don't have enough storage space or use for 250 plus quilts made each year. Some go to the local women's refuge but the majority go to the mountain villages in East Timor, where the warmth of a quilt may help to save a life. That has to be a good reason to keep quilting. I'm also using every spare minute to knit garments like baby jackets and booties; and hats and scarves for the bigger kids and adults. I'm also crocheting blankets to send over so life is busy but I'm used to that while trying to fit everything around my paid job. Back to work!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Children of East Timor

These are some of the faces I can't forget as I sleep in my very comfortable bed; shower with running water which I haven't had to heat or use in a bucket; flush my western toilet; eat whatever I feel I would like; and work at a job I mostly enjoy so I can save some money to look after my family. These kids won't experience most of what I enjoy as even getting enough to eat is a problem in East Timor. I didn't take photos of the worst cases of disease and malnutrition as I was busy working with the medical clinic and trying to help.
The photo with all the children on the road shows them walking home from school. They are the lucky ones as they are able to attend a school with a roof and may have a desk and a book to write in. They are close to Dili and the further away from Dili you are, the less chance you have of this. In the mountains I saw a lot of kids with malnutrition and many I treated won't survive as they were too ill and malnourished. The photo of the child with her father is typical of some of the children I was working with and a medical visit and free meal once a month is not enough.
The kids near the beds with mosquito netting are at an orphanage which has been built and equipped by Australian NGO groups and the kids were happy and reasonably well-fed. They may not be orphans but more likely their families gave them up as they couldn't feed them.

These two little jackets are some of the clothes I've had donated and will keep some kids warm when they receive them. They need all the help they can get as lack of food and warmth will mean they are less likely to survive. Now you can see some of the reasons why I can't turn my back on these kids.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Delivery Day

I delivered 15 large boxes of quilts, knitted hats and scarves, booties and tote bags as well as warm clothes all to be sent over to East Timor.
I ran out of room in the car and put 2 boxes on the roof rack. I must remember that I can carry more that way next time as I still have a few more things to add to boxes and of course the production won't stop before Christmas so I will have more quilts ready to send before the end of the year. I also knitted 2 hats yesterday so the collection of hats and booties will continue to grow. I never worry that what I send won;t be used as the need is great and the people in the remote mountain areas don't have access to supplies of warm garments. I know that they also need school supplies and more will be gathered for the next shipment. The stack of quilts are some of the simple quilts made from 6" squares and the photos of the other quilts will be loaded onto my webshots page soon. Off to my paid job now so more later.


One of the lovely children who befriended us while helping to build a new school. The kids love to have their photos taken and I'll take copies for them when I go back.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Going Back

I'm back to the gym to get a bit fitter as I've decided to return to East Timor next year. I had to weigh up how much I could do there compared with what I can do from home making and sending over quilts and warm clothes. They are very much needed but there is also a need for people with certain skills in health care, education and agriculture and I can help with some of the health care needs so I'm finding it hard to turn my back on the people I met there.
I also made some good friends on our team and have many good memories of our time in Maubisse. Here I show some of the work being done on the house we stayed in at Maubisse as well as some photos of the hospital. I've been very busy getting boxes of quilts and clothing ready to add to the next shipping container as well as knitting lots of baby clothes. Better get back to work again.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Village Life

Village life in Maubisse is much the same as at home as the women look after the children, do the washing, which you can see strung along whatever is handy such as bushes and fences, and buy groceries. The difference lies in the time it takes to do such simple jobs when there is no electricity and often no running water. You can see one of the small shops which supply basic goods if you have money to buy them and they wash their clothes often as they don't have a lot to choose from.
However life here is also at a slower pace and most seem to be up at sunup and then have a nap at lunchtime. They have a fairly social life and spend their days working in their vegetable gardens and chatting with friends when there is time. If they are lucky enough to have land it can help them make a small income by selling the extra produce. Their homes are simple and yet they are clean with the earthen floors well swept and often a small garden of lovely flowers enhances their surrounds. The children usually go to school unless they are needed at home to look after their younger siblings. They love bright colours and I'm mindful of this when I knit hats and scarves and make quilts to send them.
I had a similar routine while I was there, washing my clothes in a bucket as well as washing myself that way when the power was out. I was fortunate enough to have a western style toilet but no flush option so we filled buckets every morning to use for flushing during the day. We take so many of our basic comforts for granted and travelling to Timor was a good reminder for me that life is good here and it should be better there if we all do a little to help.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What I've Been Doing

I've been busy knitting booties and baby hats from a bag of odd balls of baby wool and I've also been busy quilting. This is one of my crumb quilts using odd scraps to make the blocks and using plain sqs to off set them. This week has been a busy quilting time for me and on Tuesday I bound 10 quilts and I still had 7 left to finish. Yesterday I made 2 more quilts from QAYG string blocks and started piecing more blocks to finish off a UFO someone donated.
I'm trying to get as many quilts finished as possible so the next shipment can be sent off the East Timor. I'm also looking for toys to add with the quilts as I didn't see any kids playing with toys other than a hoop and a stick to propel it. I think soccer balls, bats and tennis balls as well as dolls may be the best to send. Also I'm gathering school supplies so life is busy and rewarding. Off to my paid job today but I did enjoy a few days of sewing at home.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

More at the Market

Horses were everywhere on market day as they are used to bring goods to sell down the mountain such as coffee beans or tobacco. Then they carry the bought goods home. The people all walk and they climb the mountains without effort, whereas I was out of breath and had to stop at times while walking up the steep roads or tracks.

Above you can see the bread seller's cart in the market place. The tobacco is sold as "chop-chop" and the vegetables are carefully placed on stalls on on the ground so that they entice the buyers. Market day is a chance to catch up with friends as well as just wandering around and seeing the produce. I didn't get any photos of the really crowded back lanes ad there were just too many people. More later.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Market Day

Blogger is being very slow with photos today so I'll try more later. Market Day is Sunday after Mass and everyone seems to come down into the town from the mountain areas. They go to church and then buy or sell what they need. In the afternoon there is cock-fighting and gambling but I didn't go to see that. It's hard to believe how much I managed to see while I was there and I'm enjoying going over my photos.
More later when blog co-operates.