It all started with a bag. A bag large enough and tough enough to hold a metal and leather portable dental chair weighing 10-15kg, all angles and points and unwieldy as hell. Our second dental chair first hit TL’s shores in an old boogie board bag. For years we slowly watched it fall apart stitch by stitch. Last year we put some serious money (USD 60) into getting a new one made in Dili. A rather arduous process ensued with an average end-product, which started to fall apart within 6 months of service. During Team 3’s trip, the zip finally broke, so Blanche decided to get one made back home. She roped her Dad into service – he makes school uniforms – but after much collaboration and creative brainstorming between the two, he bowed out of the process, leaving Blanche with 50m of Velcro and a verbal shrug.
Owner of an almost virginal sewing machine and with a concomitant level of sewing experience, Blanche carried on (how hard could it be?) with vital advice from the staff at Maroochydore Lincraft and her patients, and a warning from Dad that her machine might not be up to the task of sewing vinyl. Advice gratefully taken, warning summarily ignored. While the sewing would not win any prizes for aesthetics or straight lines, the job was going swimmingly (even the hubbie was impressed!) right up until the virginal machine went into hysterics. Mom stepped into the breach. She was enlisted to take the machine in for repair, but with the deadline nearing, a tiny bit of worry set in. She stopped at Lincraft for advice, and there a kind stranger offered the use of her own machine, which was accepted with much relief.
In sweatshop-like conditions, the 120cm x 55cm x 35cm, extremely unwieldy bag, complete with Velcro closures was completed by Blanche, her Mom and the tough old machine in 2 nights, and the bag was shipped by express post to Darwin for the next team. In the end Mom had taken over the sewing (she could sew in straight lines and a lot faster). We would like to thank Blanche’s Dad for his design ideas, Blanche’s Mom for the sewing advice and the inevitable sewing coup, and most of all, the lovely Jocelyn, who without a second thought, generously lent us her wonderful sewing machine, without which we would never have got the job done! THANKYOU!