The journey continues, but as we left Bari a few days ago, right now we want to take stock of our first stop: we cooked our way through the entire international menu: from blue mussels to hummus, from cuttlefish to tortillas. 500 guests from 30 countries took their seats at the kitchen table. To be precise, there were people from Senegal, Gambia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso, Mali, Nigeria, Eritrea, Italy, Germany, Georgia, Brazil, Mauritius, China, Yemen, Sierra Leone, Palestine, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Bangladesh, Romania, Mexico, Spain, Poland, Bulgaria, Russia, Egypt and Venezuela. Did we forget anyone?
If we look back, there are many different moments that stick in our minds. Here is our personal “best of Bari” list:
- Our co-founder Jule’s favourite moment: “Cutting out the eyes of an octopus was the coolest! Two North African boys stood at the sink and washed the octopus with me. A lot of black ink came out of it, which was very exciting.”
- Our picnic in the park was a real success: over 100 people sat down on blankets around the container on the first weekend of April. They brought delicious things with them and chatted. Local organizations who are engaged in integration work connected easily in this casual setting. We now want to repeat this picnic in other locations.
- One of the guests holds a special place in our hearts: Babu from Ghana. The 20-year-old cooked his national dish Jollof Rice for everyone, played football with the team of the organization Mama Africa, and helped to disassemble the container like a team member at the end. No wonder that we all kept our fingers crossed one morning when he was summoned to a hearing of his asylum application at the court of Bari. The usually lively young man who dreams of becoming a chef was suddenly very quiet. But when he left the building, having received a permit for another two years in Italy, his eyes shone again. We were very happy for him!
- “When we all danced in a circle – this was very touching”, says co-founder Rabea, remembering one night when all the guests suddenly jumped up after eating, took their neighbours by the hands and danced together around the table.
- Another highlight was one afternoon when Andi went to the market with activists from the group “Avanzi Popoli” to collect food for dinner. The group campaigns against food waste and has set itself the goal of bringing food producers and restaurateurs in Puglia together with social projects. Club member Suzy showed us vividly how she convinces Italian market traders to support their idea. With a cascade of shouts of “Allora!!”, we left the market weighed down with over 10 kilos of free vegetables and with huge grins on our faces. We also learnt about a new ingredient that day: fairtrade Mafia-free chickpeas!
- The container itself experiences its top moment when all the tables were pushed together for the first time to form a large table and we ate with Mexican Polina and her Italian friends, as well as residents of the local refugee camps together in a large group. Since that night, this new seating arrangement has often arisen by itself.
- Co-founder Andi’s decision to take two football goals from Germany to Italy really paid off! On one of the very first evenings it happened that some young people who normally just hang out in the park were inspired to start up a match.
- The day that volunteers placed a stand in front of our container and distributed small cups – with the slogan “Rosemary against racism”.
And to be honest, we really enjoyed our Sunday treats in Puglia.
All in all, Bari was really great! We will miss Parco don Tonino Bello!
And in the second episode of our webvideo, you can see, how nice the first days in Bari were…