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With a new team and fresh ideas, the container starts his tour number four in 2019. In May we started our trip in the direction of Hof an der Saale, Schmalkalden and Rendsburg.
Three federal states, three small towns and 80 events later, about 2000 new name badges are decorating the walls of our cozy container kitchen. Again this year, the container turned into an open meeting space, into a place where people encounter at eye level and exchange not just recipes, but stories, wishes, hopes, philosophies of life and experiences.
In every three locations we leave active communities, where people who got to know each other in the container, continue engaging for the living together in their town.
02. May to 24. June 2019
24. June to 13. August 2019
13. August to 01. October 2019
Hof an der Saale
First stop of the container tour 2019 is Hof an der Saale. In the small town in Upper Franconia we throw the anchor in front of the Sophien-Primary School in the heart of the multicultural station quarter. A frosty start, with snow in May, is followed of an even warmer welcome. The cooking evenings are booked up really quickly and at the weekends organizations and social associations are using our cozy kitchen for their own events.
Snuggled in woolen blankets, exuberantly celebrating the sugar festival (end of Ramazan, the Muslim period of fasting) or thoughtfully listening at the Human Library, during seven weeks nearly 900 people from 25 different countries encounter each other in the container.
A special challenge for us are the numerous, unattended kids, hanging out around the container often late into the night. We are very happy our wonderful volunteers, contact persons and also some social initiatives stand by us with support and action. We are very thankfully, that now, as an outgrowth of the project period, a group of experts from social organizations, city administration and politics was founded. Their aim is to sustainability improve the situation of the children via special offers.
From Hof an der Saale the journey takes us to Schmalkalden, just 200 km further. The small, half-timbered town with around 19 000 inhabitants is located in the heart of the Thuringian Forest. Between fashion boutique, bakery and drugstore the container attracts attention from the first day on.
It doesn’t take much time till the people of Schmalkalden discover our mobile kitchen as their place to be. With enthusiasm volunteers organize a café in our kitchen during the weekly market, offering coffee and information about the project to everyone passing by.
Schmalkalden is the smallest town we are visiting in 2019. It doesn’t take much time and we feel like knowing half of the city, everywhere we meet familiar faces. The atmosphere during the cooking evenings is quite informal and from the windows of the surrounding houses, the neighbours watch what’s happening around the container.
Thanks to the size of the town, a lot of people who encounter each other via cooking together meet again in their everyday live. After our departure, one of the container neighbours writes: “Every day we meet people, we went past some weeks ago. Thanks to you we are friends now.”
In the middle of august, we continue our trip in the direction of Rendsburg. The navigation system informs us that “The route contains ferry service”, the ocean is close, you can feel it everywhere in the small city located at the waterway which connects North Sea and Baltic Sea.
Often, we eat fish in the container, and ice cream is served with liquorice crumble. Close to the pedestrian zone, the container becomes an important meeting point very quickly. One month before our arrival, a big initial reception camp opened in the suburbs. For some of the people living there, the container becomes the place where they get in touch with the city’s society the first time.
It doesn’t matter if it’s dirty weather or the sun is shining, the Nordic warmth is always sitting at the table as well, when people from every part of the world encounter each other eating Herring sour (a traditional North German dish) or the world’s hottest curry.
Several times, the container takes part in events organized by the city council. Whether for a flea market café, the city festival Rendsburger Herbst or an intercultural breakfast, again and again kitchen and terrace fill up with people who step to each other with curiosity and let the magic of encounter come to life through cooking together, playing cards and table soccer or making music.