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Cross-Cultural Program: Ireland and Northern Ireland 2001
Group Journal Oct 17-24

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  Orientation Sept 4-10 MP Sept 11-17 MP Sept 18-24 MP ** Sept 25-Oct 7 MP **
  Oct 8-16 MP Oct 17-24 MP Oct 25-31 MP Nov 1-8 MP Nov 9-17 MP **
  Nov 18-Dec 4 MP (MP is the journal's "More Pictures" page, ** is a bonus page)

Wednesday, October 17, 2001

Lookin' good at midsemester
Group picture at Corrymeela
preparation for the Political Science exam on Thursday, the morning was used for study and planning. Each student will be involved in a role-play as a member of a specific political party or paramilitary group or a representative from the Secretary of State's office.

After lunch, Terry Boyle joined us and spoke about J.M. Synge's play Riders to the Sea. This is a short work about a family on the Aran Islands in which all the sons have drowned in the ocean. It's a very powerful work, and Terry helped us explore its finer points. He also spent time answering political questions and playing soccer with those interested. The free evening gave the different political groups time to prepare for the exam.



Thursday, October 18, 2001

Political Science midterm
Political Science Assembly
On Thursday we participated in a group role-play exploring the current political situation in Northern Ireland. This exercise proved to be one of the most influential and moving experiences for our group to date.

After being assigned to specific political parties and paramilitary organizations, we were told to research our respective roles and prepare to participate in a negotiation with the other members of the Assembly. Because of the gravity of the subject matter, we all felt a heavy responsibility to carry out the role-play in an informed and educated way. Being involved in the political process and the current issues in such a hands-on way gave us an experiential feel for the classroom material we have been covering. The political parties' agendas became our own as we fell into their roles. We felt the weight of attaining their goals and the difficulty of compromising in light of the external pressures, i.e. the paramilitaries.

Overall the experience taught us three things.
Waterfall in Glenariffe
Waterfall in Glenariffe Forest
One - the Northern Ireland political situation is a complex matter that is not easily solved merely through examining facts. Two - when placed in the situation of representing the parties we came to realize that emotional weight that each party member carries. Three - we learned the value of compromise and listening to each other in every circumstance. It will definitely be one of the most memorable events of the trip.
--Megan Rayborn

In the afternoon, after a cooling-down period following the exam, we went to Glenariff Forest Park. There are nine Glens of
Hacky-Sack... yeah Rok!
Rok busts a move
Antrim, carved by nine rivers flowing through the Antrim Mountains down to the sea. This used to be the wildest, most remote part of Ulster, unsettled by plantation settlers, and it was the last place in Northern Ireland where Gaelic was spoken.

The park contains beautiful scenery, and the main scenic path goes through thick trees and past three waterfalls. We followed this path, only taking one wrong turn, and enjoyed walking beside the rushing river, taking many photos as we went. We came to the bottom of the gorge and met the bus. At the time to leave, two students weren't on the bus, so one brave soul was dispatched to find them. Those two reappeared and we set off for Ballycastle (Corrymeela), about 20 minutes away. Notice I said "those two reappeared"... yes, it finally happened. After all the weeks of counting heads and shouting "Is everyone here?", we left someone behind. He kept his head, however, and went into a nearby house to ring Corrymeela and let them know he was on his way back. The man whose phone he used was just getting ready to bring him all the way over to Corrymeela when we pulled back into the car park, having realized we'd forgotten him.

Adding insult to injury, we stopped in Ballycastle to pick up some snacks... as we pulled away from the shop, someone yelled out "What about... ?" (Names have been left out to protect the abandoned). This time we'd almost left one of the women behind. Needless to say, we now count and yell for confirmation every time we travel!



Friday, October 19, 2001

This was a free day, leading into a free weekend. Unfortunately, Corrymeela had made a mistake and double-booked our lodging, so we had to move into the Marine Hotel Apartments in Ballycastle until Sunday night. They did provide storage space for some of our bags, however, which made the move much easier.



Saturday, October 20/Sunday, October 21, 2001

The weekend was spent relaxing; it rained most of the time. It was pleasant to be in town for a couple of days, and many enjoyed having a TV in their rooms. Some took advantage of being near the sea to walk on the beach. Several of the guys took the bus back over to Derry to visit their host families there, and one person went over to Edinburgh, Scotland, for the free time. Sunday evening felt a little bit like returning home as we settled back into our rooms again.



Monday, October 22, 2001

Well, we've been here at Corrymeela for a week now. I'm pretty sure I speak for everyone when I say how nice it is to be stationary.
Anne, Drew, and Mandi play Taboo
Being able to wake up in the morning, brush your teeth, and walk to class in your pajamas is a really nice thing that reminds me of home. Being able to unpack and organize rooms is somewhat convenient as well. The scenery here is wonderful, because we can basically walk outside a few feet and look down to the beach, then look across the ocean and see Scotland and many other beautiful sights. Days consist of low-key classes and processing, while at night we usually have a nice fire, Uno [card game], and hardcore Taboo [word game]. Things we are planning for the future are a variety show (with no actual talent required, according to the signup sheet), movie nights, and possibly an evening or two in Ballycastle. I can honestly say that we have been blessed to be given a wonderful place like this to rest, relax, and rejuvenate for Belfast and Dublin.
--Lorin Bagwell



Tuesday, October 23, 2001

This week has afforded our group a change of scenery as we've volunteered our time and energy here at Corrymeela. Being split into four different areas has given us yet another chance to work together, have a good time, and expand our knowledge of each other. We've also gotten a taste of the ever-changing weather of Northern Ireland as it goes from a cool, misty morning to a freezing downpour, to a warm, sunny afternoon, and then a considerably cooler evening
Working hard moving a wigwam thingie
Moving a wigwam
as we work throughout the day.

One group was working in the Croi (pronounced "Cree"), where daily worship is held. They were scraping wallpaper off the walls to prepare a room for a new look. Another group is stationed at Cedar Haven, a third at the compound, and the largest group is clearing a bunch of bushes and trees to turn into mulch. At the end of the day there are plenty of sore bodies and tired minds, so we usually just relax with some movies. This evening, a volunteer here at Corrymeela led a session with us on massages and aromatherapy. That was definitely a good way to relax and it was beneficial learning massage techniques to use on others and ourselves.
Erica and Melissa scraping walls in the Croi
Scraping the walls in the Croi

With all this work, all twenty-nine of us are really wanting to do laundry, but with only one washer and dryer, it takes quite a while. Thank goodness for Adam, who can't use his left hand very well yet, because he's kept the laundry going the whole time for the rest of us.

I don't know how others in the group feel about the work we're doing here, but I'm glad we're able to be out in the fresh air, working hard. It's good to know that we're helping the people here at Corrymeela who try to provide a peaceful setting for others who might be experiencing turmoil or conflict.
--Megan Popp



Wednesday, October 24, 2001

The work continues... it's fun to see everyone really getting in there, getting dirty and working hard. The ones who are running the chipper to eat up all the piles of cut branches are brave souls, and there's a lot of yelling and laughing in the different
Clearing brush
Clearing some brush
groups. Two people got a break today. Tonya Watson and Eloy Rodriguez went with Anne over to the nearby town of Coleraine, to visit and observe a primary school. Tonya went into the P2 class, which was 5 year olds. She got to watch a math lesson and read a story to the class. Eloy spent his morning with the P5's, 8 year olds. They were much quieter than the 5 yearolds' class, according to Eloy after he came into P2 for playtime. It was a good experience for both students, since they are education majors, and the children enjoyed the novelty of having American visitors in their classrooms.

In the evening, the long-awaited variety show took place. There was a gift of flowers for Anne and Gloria, brought in by an interestingly clothed (half-clothed, at least) Asian man, followed by four very different acts. The first was Jon Hewes, Phil Blount, Eloy Rodriguez and Rok Keopangna doing the old summer camp act of two people pretending to be one person while putting on makeup, brushing hair, etc. (Of
Rok and Phil get feminine
course, the person doing the actions is hidden under a sheet behind the front person and can't see a thing he's doing... made for some interesting lipstick application.) This was made more hilarious by the music playing, a song entitled Femininity.
Dressed up for the Variety Show
Dressed for the occasion

Next Anne, Gloria and Clay Showalter made a brave attempt to whistle Greensleeves in three-part harmony... this is harder than it sounds when you keep laughing!

The third act was a talk show, staged by Joel Daly and Rok Keopangna, called Morning Glory. It was an "alternative" morning news program... hilarious, to say the least.

The final group was a comedy improv bunch, consisting of Gloria, Derek King, Matt Clemmer, Mandi Dagen, Joel Daly and Erica Passmore. Sketches included props ("I can't beam her up, Scotty, not enough power!"), the alphabet game ("Pauvre de moi!"), style movies ("Forsooth, how long shall thy hair be?"... Shakespeare at the barber) and the dating game ("I'd take her to the 7-11, man... get some munchies!"). These quotes may not mean much to you, but they were hilarious at the time! We decided that none of us should quit our day jobs, but the evening was a lot of fun.



Let's see more pictures
More Pictures...

HomeJournalsLinksWebteamMapsOld Site
  Orientation Sept 4-10 MP Sept 11-17 MP Sept 18-24 MP ** Sept 25-Oct 7 MP **
  Oct 8-16 MP Oct 17-24 MP Oct 25-31 MP Nov 1-8 MP Nov 9-17 MP **
  Nov 18-Dec 4 MP (MP is the journal's "More Pictures" page, ** is a bonus page)