“Rachel M. of Ferrybank, Waterford, Ireland,” Friend, Mar. 2000, 20
If you give Rachel M. (10) a large curved stick and a small hard leather ball, she will smile and get a glint in her eye. Then she becomes energized and is ready to compete in a game of camogie. Camogie is an Irish women’s team sport similar to Irish hurling or field hockey. It is played with a broad-bladed stick called a camog. The camog is used to catch and move or hurl a small ball over or under a crossbar that is placed between two goalposts.
But Rachel doesn’t just play camogie all day. She also enjoys other things, like going to school. Most schools in Ireland are run by either the Roman Catholic Church or the Church of Ireland. She attends a Catholic school, where she tries to set a good example for her fellow students. School is very important to her. She enjoys learning and is diligent in her schoolwork. Her mom (Teresa) and her dad (Michael) appreciate her faithfulness in doing her homework without ever being reminded to do it.
Her favorite activity at school is, of course, physical education. “I like to compete and be a winner!” Rachel said with a smile. “I especially enjoy camogie, hurling, basketball, and football (soccer).” She is a member of the Gaelic Athletic Association and plays on a camogie team after school. At home she enjoys riding her bike around the neighborhood.
She has another special interest. She loves animals. At school, she worked on a project about gray squirrels that she found very interesting. She had two pet fish, Jaws and Fanta, but Jaws died. After Jaw’s death, she wrote an epitaph for it. Being kind to animals is important to her.
Music is a favorite thing in her life, too. Lessons on the recorder and the keyboard at school are always fun. At home, Rachel likes to listen to music concerts on TV and to pop singers on the radio. Singing in church and Primary is enjoyable, too.
She and her parents attend the Waterford Branch in the Cork Ireland District. She knows the full name of each child in Primary because there are only four children! There are two classes, and she attends the older class, where she enjoys learning about Jesus Christ’s parables, especially the Parable of the Sower. Attending sacrament meeting is very important to her because she knows the importance of partaking of the sacrament and remembering the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Rachel loves her parents and appreciates all they do for her. “They give me confidence to do stuff,” she said. “My older sister, Abbie (22), helps me, too.” Last year, the family sadly said good-bye to Abbie at the airport as she left home to pursue a career in beautician work. Rachel really misses her sister and the fun times they shared together.
Spending time reading the scriptures and participating in family home evening are important activities that Rachel looks forward to doing with her parents. She always likes to study the book of Genesis in the Old Testament to learn about the Creation. “I like learning about Adam and Eve and the beginning of things.”
Holidays (vacations) with her family are always a lot of fun. “My two best holidays were to Scotland and to the Isle of Man, where we rode the narrow-gauge train up to Snaefell (a mountain peak that rises 620 meters/2,034 feet above sea level). It was very beautiful there. We saw rabbits, and we picked hazelnuts and cowslip flowers.” She also likes to visit their farm in Tipperary, Ireland, where her father lived as a child.
At home Rachel has no assigned chores but is expected to help her mother when asked. Rachel declared, “It’s ‘brill’ (brilliant) not to have any assigned chores! But I like to dust, shop, and feed the fish.” And her mother appreciates her willingness to help.
Even though Rachel has missed her father when he has gone to Bosnia and Kosovo, she is proud of the volunteer work he has done there. In the past, he helped deliver donated food and aid to the people in this area, especially to the children and the orphanages.
When she grows up, Rachel wants to have a career in one of her favorite interests: “I could wear a blue and white uniform and be a member of the Waterford hurling team. I could be a jockey. I could take animals for walks. I could be an inspector against cruelty to animals. I could be a pop singer. Or I could do all of them!”