Ulster youth learning the Cajun way - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Ulster youth learning the Cajun way

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The Ulster Project is back in Southwest Louisiana for another summer.  The program promotes religious unit among Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland.  Youths from Northern Ireland spend a month with American youth to gain insight.

Coming to America for the first time can be quite an experience.  Coming to Louisiana can be even more adventuresome, especially if you're from Northern Ireland.

“Yeah.  It's my first time,” said Bonita Clark, a Protestant from Northern Ireland. “It is hot.  The bugs are disgusting.  I've got bit I don't know how many times by mosquitoes and ants.  The food's good.  Spicy.  The people are lovely.  Shops are amazing.”

Clark is part of the Ulster Project, a group of youth who are spending July here in the Lake Area learning about cultures and religious diversity.

“Hopefully they'll see that the difference between Catholics and Protestants isn't as big as what we think it is at home,” said Gareth McFarland, Youth Coordinator from Northern Ireland. “In Louisiana, we notice it's not ever an issue.  Hopefully if the kids can take that home with them, it would be great.”

The Ulster youth live in homes with other Protestants and Catholics.  They attend worship services together and take part in community service projects like here at Project Love at First Presbyterian Church.

“I do think that a lot of eyes are opened while they're here,” said Catherine Johnston, a McNeese student. “I participated in the Project as a teen and I know that my eyes were opened.  It's a real good experience.”

The Ulster youth will wrap up their visit next week with a Cajun Night celebration in Westlake.

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