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Sandra Neville & Pat Deegan (1994)

Sandra Neville, Pat Deegan & Family

Sandra Neville, Pat Deegan & Family

For us Kimmage will always be part of our story. I, Sandra Neville left my job ‘for life” with the company car to attend the postgraduate course in development studies. To make light of the return to the pauper lifestyle of a student, I joked with anybody who asked, that I was hoping to meet my future husband, as the chances of doing so in my job in Oxford as a community midwife were slim. As the saying goes be careful for what you wish for; I did just that, Pat Deegan was the first person I met on my way into Kimmage Manor on registration day and we will soon be celebrating 20 years of marriage. A legacy from Kimmage what do you think?

We studied in Kimmage from 1993-1994, during this year we had a very eventful time. Early on we set up a social group to assist us in getting to know each other and to give the overseas students a taste of Ireland. This found us on a wet and windy October weekend venturing to the Aran Islands. I have still very vivid memories of the pale faces as the swells of the wild Atlantic Ocean assailed our boat on our outward journey. Were we mad? We all had a great weekend but many were very happy when we reached terra firma on the Sunday evening. We had many social gatherings, one in particular springs to mind a party where all the students wore their national dress and what a sight that was. This inspired us to participate in the Dublin City St. Patrick’s Day Parade, a very proud time for us all. For the many highs came some lows. We sadly lost one of our class mates to a hit and run accident on our final night, Clodagh, missed by all her family and friends.
Many friendships were forged over those short 10 months and I am sure many will endure the years ahead.
Within weeks of the course completion, the war in Rwanda begun and in the beginning of August I found myself in Zaire/Rwanda working in the refugee camps. It was during my time in Rwanda that some of the knowledge and skills I had acquired during my year in Kimmage came into play. I worked as Medical/Project Coordinator and despite the lack of any structures in the country I hope the work I did made a small difference. In 1996 Pat, Frankie (our first born) and I moved to Lesotho, here Pat worked as Regional Director for Southern Africa with APSO. We spent four years in the Region, whilst in Lesotho and South Africa we managed to increase our family unit to five. Cormac Madiba was born in Lesotho and Eoin Thabo was born in Jonesburg. Would this be considered development?
We are now living in the Midlands, I am working in the area of child protection, Pat is farming and assisting children with reading difficulties. Frankie is in his second year in college, Cormac and Eoin are attending post primary school.
We have many happy memories of our time in Kimmage and wish the Development Studies Centre all the best for the next 40 years.

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