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  • Writer's pictureMaria Cahill

Shauna's Reflections on Involvement in a Charity

What was the best thing about being involved?

We were about sixty people working in a marque tent one summer, working together side by side packing food into parcels. We didn’t know each other and we had come from all over the world. We didn’t have much in common – often not even a language – and in spite of all of those obstacles we had great craic. It’s hard to explain, it felt like we belonged even though we were strangers, almost as if we were one unit even though we were so obviously different. Something important was happening that was bigger than any of us.

What was the biggest challenge?

We didn’t have the language skills to communicate smoothly with each other. Since we couldn’t talk things out, we were less efficient at doing some things and if something had gone wrong or some misunderstandings had cropped up, it could have been really frustrating.

What was the legacy in your life?

The immediate legacy was that some people we fed, but we never saw that. I think there were two big things for me – I got a sense of how enjoyable and relaxing it is to be part of something bigger than yourself, and I realised how much you can read about people even when you can’t talk to them: how much they say in the small details about how they interact and behave.


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