and the leaves that are green turn to brown
31.08.2007 - 31.08.2008 0 °F
Wow! It's amazing to think that I've been at Glencree for a whole month now. In a way it seems like a long time since I left the states, but overall it's flown by. I've been meaning to catch you all up on a few things I've been involved in over these past few weeks.
We'll start off going back to the weekend before this one just past. I had the amazing experience of sitting in on a session of the Sustainable Peace Network. SPN is part of the Survivors and Ex-Combatants Programme. It brings together people who have been involved in the Troubles. There has been a group each year since 2004 (I believe). Each group is composed of 2/3 survivors and ex-combatants and 1/3 people in the community who coonect to the experience in some way. The programme involve the outdoors and bonding via this. The group meets at Glencree, then takes a 3/4 day trip to Scotland, the Glencree, then a two week trip to South Africa, and then a meeting back at Glencree again. After this they will become part of the larger SPN which is composed of all the members of the former groups. I sat in on their reflection of their trip to Scotland. It was amazing to see how much this group had bonded in one short weekend. To think that these are people who tried to kill each other or whose group is responsible for the death of another's family member is unbelievable. It's a truly wonderful thing to see. It's also great to hear about how people seem to be healing, as many have not talked about this much before and have been carrying their pain around for years. I'm excited to see them once they get back from South Africa!
On a side note - I have to say that if there weren't a confidentiality agreement I would have the best video for all of you! It would definitely rival anything put out there by Matt A. However, if I see anyone I can do a re-enactment for you, though not as good as the original I'm sure. (The material of this bit is not confidential, just what the participant looks like.) Just ask for the "My Body is a Temple" demo
Also this past week we had a two visitors from Germany - a mother and daughter. The mother was here at age 11 as part of Operation Shamrock. OS happened after WWII to try to help a ravaged Germany. Mostly orphaned children of the ages 7-12 were brought to Glencree to try to nurse them back to health and to find homes for those who needed them. This women was not orphaned, however her father ran a refugee camp and was asked if he would like to send one of his children. Having a total of 6 kids, his wife was happy to have one less mouth to feed for a few months. The woman was here for 6 months before she returned home. As she told me, she was extremely thin when she arrived here, but the Irish fed her well and she's never been skinny since!
Just a few days ago there was a Golf Classic to benefit the Survivors and Ex-Combatants Programme. A couple of guys from the broader SPN came down to talk with the big spenders while they golfed. These two a quite a riot. Crazy to think that not that long ago they were very seriously trying to kill each other and now they pretty much have a comedy routine that they could take on the road. I don't think I stopped laughing at any of the meals I spent with them. It's crazy that a result like this, one you really hope for, is actually a possibility.
Another side note - apparently in Ireland/Northern Ireland you don't ask a person named Stephen/Steven how they spell. If you ask this what you are really asking is are the Catholic or Protestant. Interesting and something I never knew. I don't know if this (the spelling, not the offensiveness) is so much true in the U.S., but I wouldn't mind doing a little investigating on it. Hmmmm. (Please note that my asking didn't cause any problems, as I was at Glencree and they person knew I was American, but none-the-less it's quite interesting.)