Michael Mahadeo has lived in Northern Ireland since the mid 1980s, when he moved here from British Guyana. He speaks about growing up in Guyana during its decolonization, and about the most notorious part of the country’s recent history — the Jonestown massacre, in which hundreds of American citizens killed themselves on a compound in rural Guyana. Michael also discusses being an ethnic minority in Northern Ireland, adjusting to the Troubles, and whether it’s ever possible to become a local here.
In the first half hour, Mandy Jones and Julie Rea of the Simon Community NI discuss why homelessness is on the rise in Belfast, how their group works to address it, and what results they’ve seen. In the second half, Carla Pflueger talks about owning and working in Wilma’s Candy & Fudge Factory over the past twenty-some years. She and her husband Harold started the business in the basement of their home in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania and sold it 2 years ago. Carla talks about the art of making candies, the catastrophes that can happen in a chocolate factory, and what life after chocolate holds for her.
Episode 9 considers local politics: of the Orange Order in Northern Ireland and the City Council of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In the first half, David Hume talks about the future of the Orange Order, including its new superhero figure and tourism initiatives. Mid-July has been rechristened as ‘Orangefest’ and the Orange Order has big plans for brining more foreigners and locals together for the parades and activities around the 12th. Hume also discusses the Order’s international links, in Canada, the US, and Africa, along with its concerns for attracting young Northern Irish men to join its ranks.
In the second half, Patrick Dowd explains how he won a seat on Pittsburgh’s City Council and his plans for the city. He went from graduate student to teacher to politician, but his victory was not an easy one. Winning a seat as a Democrat but initially without the endorsement of Pittsburgh’s Democratic Party, Dowd had to mobilize the grassroots of the community, going from door to door to door and fount out a tremendous amount about the Pittsburgh neighborhoods he now represents.