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In June, two of our students, David McAloon and Paul Desborough volunteered for two weeks at the Corrymeela Community in Ballycastle, Northern Ireland and found themselves involved in lots of different activities including preparation of food in the kitchen, cleaning, and hosting groups on programmes at the centre.
The conversations and discussions they had with the permanent staff and other volunteers were an important part of their experience and it was there they learned most of the essential context of the Northern Ireland political situation. This in turn enabled them to create a frame of reference for the whole community.
It was a huge privilege for them to be allowed to host and sit in with groups, some of whom had been involved in the past conflict directly or had lost family members. Whether they were corporate groups with management issues, or families who were there for respite from very difficult situations, thoughts and feelings were shared. Corrymeela is the ideal location for healing and reconciliation work to begin.