Lockdown Stories: Marina Forrestal

Introductions & How did I use Outhouse when it was open.

Running Amach is an online community of LGBTQI women that want to develop new friendshipsparticipate in common interests and activities and have a bit of Craic. 

As a member of RA I used to host a weekly meetup called Daytime Connections every Tuesday morning in the Cafe of Outhouse. It was going very well I think, partly because it filled a need to find things to do for women who for various reasons are free during the day. Also some rural women were able to travel  and get back home easier without having to pay for overnight accommodation.  We were just coming up to our one year anniversary when Lockdown happened.

How are you connecting during Lockdown?

Its been very interesting, after discussions with the Administration of Running Amach and with some useful technological advice and offers of assistance from the team in Outhouse  we set up a Zoom version of Daytime Connections on the very first Tuesday after Lockdown. Running Amach was anxious to be able to provide some kind of support for its members at this time and we decided to extend the model of being available for a daytime chat on Tuesdays to every day of the week for the duration of the Lockdown. Members have been logging in every day for an hour from 12.00 pm to 1.00 pm daily for 7 weeks now.

How is your time occupied during lockdown?

I am facilitating the Running Amach Coffee shop with one of its Administrators Karen OReardon on a daily basis, other than that like a lot of people I have good days and bad days. Some days I feel like lockdown is an opportunity to get things done that I havent put time into previously and other days I find it hard to get out of bed.

What do you miss about Outhouse?

Even though I am having daily online connections I miss the physical presence of other people. I think its really important to have an LGBTQI Community center where we can go, organise things and meet one another. I miss the coffee shop and the women in it, the lovely light scones I can get no where else and having a sit down in the library. If anything this lockdown has highlighted the need for an actual physical Community Centre.

Final Message to people

When lockdown is lifted and we begin mixing around together again maybe we could put a bit more effort into supporting and showing our appreciation for the things we do have and are now missing . I hope we wind up moving out of this time of isolation into a time of  taking more personal responsibility for building community and reaching out to one another.

Marina Forrestal

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