Now, before you become worried or uneasy about the title of this blog, please read on.
As you may know, Ireland has some words that are quite different than our everyday language. For instance, rubbish is trash, the boot is the trunk of the car, bin is the trashcan, trolly is a shopping cart, a biscuit is a cookie, chips are fries, and crisps are chips!
We have experienced many aspects of culture here from everyday words to ancient history. On Saturday we dedicated an entire day to historic sites. Throughout this historic journey, we ventured with a man named David Martin. Every time he spoke his voice commanded attention with the amount of passion he had for the subject, which was anything with a bit of history. Seeing him at each site was like watching a kid with a raging sweet-tooth in a candy store! This was to be expected since he had been a history teacher all his life. Destination numero uno was an extremely fascinating place called Newgrange. This place was 5000 years old. This place was built 500 years before the pyramids! As you enter the structure, you could see the piles upon piles of rock that surrounded you. The outer structure looks massive, but as you move through a narrow walkway, you enter the small room. I was surprised how small the room actually was compared to the size of the structure, but the intricacy was hidden within. As they explained what happened within this building, I became awestruck at the amount of intelligence it took to create this amazing place. Throughout the rock was a system made to drain the water when it rained outside the building, which was extremely fascinating. Also, at the end of every year, the sun shines directly into the building entrance to reveal a beam of light that shoots through the walkway to illuminate the room. This room was seen as way to connect with their Sun God and they placed ashes of their dead in three corners of the room. From the way I see it, it was a way to have their dead reach or honor their God. One of the most beautiful parts of this place was how it was created. Generations of people transported giant rocks, that took about 40 people a rock, across miles and miles of land, mountains, and rivers. What really got me was the fact that the people who put the effort into making this building saw it as so massively important that they were making it for all the future generations before them. Hardly any of them were going to see the finished product. That is ones dedication to their culture; like David Martin. This made me think. Do we put that much thought into what we do in America? This dedication was baffling.
As we continued through our days we saw many sites of beauty and history. We also spoke with Kathi about her experiences in Ireland and all she does for her community. Today we went to the Church of the Nazarene that Kathi is associated with in Ireland. We spent the day serving there; washing and replacing batteries in the toys for the children, wiping down chairs, cleaning windows, scrubbing radiators, vacuuming, and filling potholes in their carpark (which is what a parking lot is in the US). It was a way to feel closer to what Kathi is doing there and to hear her open up more about her life there was very humbling.
At the end of the day we planned to go over to Kathi’s friends house for dinner. These people include an amazing woman named Mary Rose and her interesting life partner, David. As we entered her land I felt as though I was transported into a magical land. As soon as I saw her I felt welcomed with smiles as we were provided homemade soup and bread. We all ate around her table, laughing and sharing stories (usually funny ones), of all kinds. At one point, Mary Rose paused and looked at us saying with a small smile, “This is some good crack.” As Kathi and Stephanie giggled to themselves, sharing a look wth Mary Rose, we all looked at each other slightly confused. They asked our team leader, Josh Bunce, if he knew what it meant. He replied that he knew many meanings of crack, but he had a feeling he didn’t know what they meant. Mary Rose went on to say that crack or “craic” meant fun! We all busted up laughing and making jokes about how great the craic we were having was. It was some “great crack.”
As the night continued, we branched off into little discussions when I found myself in awe at the knowledge of yet another passionately intelligent David! This man was educated in all natural and plant-like things. I can’t even remember the actual term, but he was so incredibly smart! He knew oils to keep your hair looking nice, a tea to help your children sleep, honey mixtures to ward off sickness, and so much more. One thing that is extremely fascinating, that is an example of the kind of things he told us, was the following. He told us about how he collects honey by bee-keeping and he just puts the boxes outside for them and they came naturally to it; not bothered at all. He also said this, “It is said that whenever someone is born or dies in the family, you must tell the bees. The bees must know and be included.” He said that he even did this. He was just so incredible.
As the night ended we were sad to go as we said goodbye to Mary Rose and David. Their never-ending humor and wisdom followed us out the door and I hope will stay with me forever. I hope to be lucky enough to see them again.
Now I end this blog hoping you experienced some great “crack” reading about my stories and the two Davids.
So long for now!
~Amber Faith Donoho