This week we speak to Majella Cahill for our #memberinfocus feature: “The Challenges and Opportunities of 2020”.
Q1. If you could describe the year 2020 in one word, what would it be?
Q2. What was happening in your life when the pandemic struck?
I had recently moved house and was settling into my new home. My son who had returned home for Christmas and planned to return abroad in April, was now living at home (working remotely), as was my daughter who had returned from Belfast to spend lockdown at home. There were now three adults living in a two bedroomed house. Surprisingly, we all got along really well and they each looked after themselves (closely monitored by mum)! I drew the short straw, and slept on the sofa, it was actually very comfortable.
Q3. Why and when did you decide to get involved with community-based support?
Since training as a teacher of English in 2017 (3yrs to this month), I became involved with a locally based branch of St Vincent De Paul, supporting a Syrian refugee couple with home tutoring and at a few other Belfast based charity funded organisations supporting refugees/asylum seekers with learning English. Due to the pandemic these facilities closed down. By chance I came across ‘our organisation’ on FaceBook. By nature it could be said, I like to give support to others in need, so I followed the link and here I am.
Q4. What is the biggest challenge you have faced since the world went into lockdown?
Firstly, watching global news on tv and hearing how people (older people) were dying in vast numbers. I found this all too much (on a personal level), as I have a close relative who lives in a local nursing home. There was an overwhelming feeling of conflict within me, between protecting and locking away the older people (essentially human rights of our older people).
Q5. Are you excited about any opportunities that have arisen this year?
I am excited for this organisation (which had a jump start into the world of the 3rd sector) which has been active in supporting our communities especially during lockdown and for its future development.
Q6. How are things looking for the remainder of 2020?
It is strange, (as I sit here writing) as, on one level it could just be an ordinary (pre-pandemic day), yet when I venture out it hits me like a slap in the face, masks, hand sanitisers, queues etc. I will continue to put my personal mark on my new home, but more importantly, I will try to live within in each day and be grateful for my blessings.