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Roadtrip: Maryland Crabfest 3.0/Operation Sandy 2012

That chilly wind's a'blowin'! Pumpkins are a growin'! So that must mean we're goin'...on our annual roadtrip to Maryland. This marks the 3rd year of crab feasting followed by blue grassin' it up and hoe-in' down at nearby Chester Town. In past years Jo's best Betterton farmhouse was the pit stop along the way to a Rally for Sanity in Washington, DC, and last year's Occupy movement in NYC. image

Sanity Rally, Washington D.C 2010

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Showing my support for Sanity (as Liz Lemon), 2010

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The better way to fuel up on the way to Betterton, MD 2011

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Occupy Wall Street in a blizzard with a Malian tea ceremony, 2011

Besides a whole lot of super-awesome fun, what would this year bring? With the election looming, of course there had to be a Hurricane! Finally, we young, hip liberal Canadians were in the better place this time. We  turned this year's crab fest into:

                                                   C.R.A.B.F.E.S.T

(Canadians Raising Awareness in Betterton for Environmental Atrocities Such as Hurricanes and Tornadoes)

SInce most of us have volunteered or been part of social action projects in Africa and around the world, this was the perfect opportunity to volunteer our time and skills to our neighbouring community! We're not hurricane experts, but we are volunteers. We may not have the right skills, but who cares because, we're volunteers! Betterton is a small town of approx. 347 people, bounded by the sassy Sassafraz river. The Betterton folks seem like a tight-knit, middle class American community, home to honest hardworking families. It was important to suspend judgement and focus on raising hurricane awareness to prepare these honest hardworking American families for the impending storm; what if even one person didn't understand that Sandy wasn't just a lovely neighbour visiting for the weekend, but actually a powerful natural disaster? As Canadian volunteers, it's important to make sure that the Betterton community was not fooled by the American media. While we were there to help our friend's fantabulous Mamma stay dry, we hoped our Canadian hurricane prevention strategies would catch on in the community.

Even though we aren't really affected by hurricanes regularly in Toronto, if we were, we would definitely need:

1) duck tape 2) rolls of plastic sheets 3) mulch (which is cheaper than sandbags or hay and, garden-friendly!) 4) volunteer power to put it all together!!!

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Handy-dandy volunteers Laura, Steph and Fiona figuring out how best to implement the duck tape for maximum anti-Sandy-sealant.

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Betterton babe, Jo, and lovely Laura tackling those gritty gutters! It was a sunny 25 degrees C! Luckily we volunteers knew what was coming...

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Me, assessing the plastic sheets and making sure every last crack is covered. Jo's cat was hiding under the house; if we hadn't volunteered our time to this community, that cat might not have made it through Sandy (or we would have trapped it under the house...but let's focus on the our good volunteers intentions and not that we almost killed a cat. We later bought cat food for the cat, which is a positive thing).

Here is some feedback from the Volunteers when asked how they felt about the intense work they were doing for the Betterton community:

"This is what we do. It's peace, it's love, it's normal. We ain't afraid of no Sandy" -Steph, regularly volunteers in Haiti

"As a volunteer I bring a lot of energy and I think that just helps people feel better...To the people back home, you need to get out in the world and just meet people because everyone is so special" -Leora, Volunteer Spirit Lifter

"I'm really passionate about the ocean. I don't like any litter, so I will pick it up to support all the marine life. That's how I'm saving the world, and the marine life. At least I know I've done my job." -Elliot Miller, Volunteered in Ghana and works with Autistic children

"This is fun! We're having fun. I feel really good helping other people. If we weren't here, people might be upset. We're here for you, and for the people." -Mika, first-time volunteer and speak Hebrew

"If we weren't here, this mulch wouldn't have been moved. The duck tape would still be full. The house might have been under water." -BB, led a volunteer trip through Ghana

Yes, as Canadians, we felt very fulfilled to be devoting our time to this community who's embraced us so warmly three years in a row, and offered us crabs, and blue grass. Unrolling the tarp and taping it down was moderately tough, so in between all the moderately-hard volunteering and moderately-ethical photo-ops, we did what all volunteers love to do:

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BE ACTIVE: Beach volley ball gone wild

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GET WET: in appropriate ways

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CATCH SOME ZEDS: Any place will do (the more awkward the better)...Zzzzz!

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EAT LOCAL (but think global)

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HOE IT DOWN: with the Chester River Run off, bluegrass band

The ten hour ride home brought relaxation and reflection on our best, busy weekend in Betterton. Although we didn't steal any Romney signs, we still felt like fulfilled slightly-above-average-volunteer-citizens. Even in just short weekend, we saw the opportunity to do something more; instead of a door, we saw a window: A window that could let in a powerful natural disaster if not voluntarily sealed with duck tape. And once again, we worked together volunteering our non-expert, yet hip-artistic-Canadian-wonderific skill set to have another creative and awwwwww-some weekend, with or without Sandy. Already we're dreaming of the next road trip!

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I saved the world by not squishing this praying mantis. I mean, what if this magical mantis is praying for World Peace?!

Until next time,

C.R.A.B.F.E.S.T Volunteer BB

PS: It's duck tape, right?

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