Once we were all settled in on the bus to Cloughjordan, I heard many people on the trip say that they had no idea that we were even going to an EcoVillage. At this time, I did not realize the profound effect this place would have on me and my outlook on life. The moment we drove into town, we saw the deserted streets and closed up shops which sent panic through us all. I thought to myself “where are we going?” As we walked into D’Jango’s hostel, I instantly felt the sense of community that radiated through every interaction and conversation that was occurring around me. I started to see why this place appreciates visitors because from the outside, it looks deserted and therefore, it does not attract many crowds. Everyone knows everyone and people within the EcoVillage do not think twice about greeting their neighbor who is gardening or who passes by them in the street. Seeing these interactions happening around me so frequently put an instant smile on my face. The level of friendliness displayed by the people within the EcoVillage was a breathe of fresh air. I have heard time and time again that Irish people are warm and welcoming, but who knew I would experience this kindness having only been here for just under twenty four hours. What stood out to me most was how appreciative people such as Juna are and her eagerness to explain the EcoVillage and share with us why it is important we visit this place, which is her home. It was evident, even within the pubs, that the people of Cloughjordan are genuinely happy to share the place they live with us and let us be part of their community for a few days.
While Peadar was introducing the aspects of the EcoVillage to us, we quickly learned that although it may seem like one big happy family, disagreements do arise. But, I loved that Peadar said that when these issues arise, the group as a whole solves the issue collaboratively in a way that best serves all the people involved. To me, this is what community is all about. The ability to work through problems is a gift that many communities across the world struggle with. The strongest communities have the patience and wisdom to see that change does not occur overnight. There will be disagreements, but what matters is that the motivation to work through these disagreements is never lost. It is truly special to have a group of people who share the same vision, but accept the fact that people have differing views. These communities are the ones who will survive in this world. I feel lucky to have seen a community that works together, but is still developing. It is inspiring to me that the EcoVillage may not be the most widely populated destination for tourists, but nevertheless, these people find hope in slow, steady progress.