Saturday, May 14, 2011

Going Green

Sorry for the lack of posts this week. Believe me it wasn't by choice. We have had a series of long city wide power outages here on the island. Thank heavens the Embassy pays for us to have a generator, so while I think it is mildly annoying to have my sewing machine suddenly turn off then back on over and over during one project, everyone else has no power what so ever. What it does mean is that our internet provider is with out power... yeah bummers. I was so excited to log on yesterday and get a post up, but Blogger was offline? Was that just me? Anyhow this week has been a BUSY one for us Crawford's. Today  was Sawyers Fifth birthday party. When it was over I was so tired I zonked for two hours and almost cried when I woke up because I just wanted to stay asleep.... so it was a success ha! More on that later though. The thing that has kept me busiest this week was helping plan and execute all the USAID and Embassy staff along with the American Seabee's attachment planting trees at ten different schools through out Dili proper and just outside.  A lot of work went into this by a lot of people and I was thrilled at how well it turned out. I volunteered Chris and I to go to the farthest away school in a little suburb over the mountain called Hera.
One of the reasons we wanted this career so much is so that our children are introduced not only to other cultures but socio economic situations. We want to raise children who understand and are grateful for how blessed they are so this was another perfect opportunity for them to serve others and be reminded how fortunate they are.
The Seabees are currently rebuilding the school because it was at one point literally a pile of rubble. Ironically enough the only thing still intact was the sign created by the first group of American soldiers who had constructed the school in 2002.
The current Seabees edited it a bit to reflect the reconstruction date. Unfortunately they have been battling horrible monsoon like rain, at one point the bridge to the school completely washed away so the process has been a slow one. There were massive puddles all over the school grounds that he boys had a blast tromping through in their boots.
Sawyer gets a bit overwhelmed by the "celebrity" like crowd that forms around him whenever we bring them to events like this so I let him wander off a bit. He went to find out how deep a puddle was.
In the process he lost a boot and the cutest Timorese girl gently helped him hop out of the puddle and put it back on. He was a bit embarrassed so he came back over to me with a mini parade following behind him.
The school currently doesn't have any doors or window coverings. Which means school is cancelled during poor weather and the kids sit in sweltering classrooms filled with bugs when it isn't raining.
The drop out rate is absolutely shocking with the majority of the students that drop out doing so before fourth grade.
USAID is currently doing a study to figure out what we can do to combat this. When I showed Sawyer the classroom he whispered "I don't like this school. It is so sad"
In the car on the way home it broke my heart when he asked if we could raise some money to buy the school some toys. The night before I had made a ton of cupcakes to hand out. I had been told it was a really small school, but I was no where near the amount I needed. I was later told that 300 students is a tiny school. Most have over a thousand on only a handful of classrooms and have to split the school during morning and afternoon sessions and even saturdays. Luckily I also brought hundreds of Mentos candies which Cheryl, the director of USAID was great about handing out.
I was really surprised at how Evie reacted. I thought she would be super clingy but she was right in the mix with the other kids asking for Mentos.
That is until someone brought her a baby pig to look at. Then she went wild chasing the poor thing all over the place.
Once all the children had arrived the ceremony began. A few short speeches were given and then the first tree was planted. Cheryl was kind enough to ask Sawyer to help she and a local student plant the first tree.
Finn helped a student and the Seabee's commander and student plant another.
Shovels were scarce but the ground was so wet it didn't matter.
Finn told me the tree smelled yummy
At first the other children just watched.
But once the "ceremonial" trees were planted each child who wanted to got a tree to plant.
They were so excited about it.
They were great about hauling the trees around and digging holes.
It was at this point that Evie started loosing it so I took her to the car to cool down and have a snack.
There were a group of kids sitting on a wall by the car. I thought maybe I could sneak them some of the cupcakes without disappointing the kids who were, well doing what they were supposed to, planting trees ha!
They were so excited!
But then it became a mob scene and I was literally getting pushed into the back of our car. I probably should have listened to Chris and just kept them. But the kids were really good about it in the end and even posed with me for a shot :)
It was such a great morning being with so many darling kids.
I promise there will be a fun sewing post tomorrow, I just had to share this fun day we had planting trees.  And just because they are soooo cute I will end with these two girlies


  1. Thank you for this post. It makes me so grateful that I have so many opportunities for my children. I am also so grateful to those like you who help others so much.

  2. Those pictures are incredible!!! My husband is currently in law school and I don't know if our path of life will be as adventurous as yours, but It is so awesome to see your life and what you and your family are doing. Especially all that you do to help. That is amazing. Your yellow skirt tutorial was my Easter skirt this past year and I STILL get compliments about it!! I am going to make another one asap! Thanks!

  3. Thank you for this beautiful post. I know that your blog is about sewing, but posts like these allow us to know you better, and see some of the many things that need to be done in the world.

  4. This is far more interesting than crafts. I wish I knew a way to help. Let me know if there are any things I can help with in the future. I love how the children are looking at your son. They are all so adorable. Thank you for sharing this.

  5. what a great story, the smallest villages are always the most rewarding! Thanks, it put a smile on my face :)

  6. What a great post! I just found your blog thanks to the 30 days of patterns, and I am so excited! I can not wait to make everything for my little doll Maycie! Everything is gorgeous and this was an amazing post. Wish we could have spent the day planting trees with you!

  7. I just love love love your blog. Thank you for sharing your life with us. I would love to sit and pick your brain. I need a reminder like this when I get overwhelmed with chores, laundry, dishes. That people are what really matter, and loving people is what makes us matter. You are doing a great job.

  8. Thank you for showing how the children live and go to school. Sometimes we forget how lucky we are in the US.

  9. This is a terrific post. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Thank you so much for often posting about the beautiful people there! I really appreciate how your blog combines crafts, which I love, with greater social issues, which I'm passionate about and are my field of work as a social worker/community organizer. Also, whenever you post pics of signs in Portuguese, it is a special treat for me, since that's my native language. Thanks again!

  11. Oh my gosh! Can I just say that you are AMAZING! I am SO impressed by your sweing skills but to shed light on this makes me love your blog even more! You are SO amazing for doing these kind of things. Thanks for sharing with the rest of us! Again, you are amazing!


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