27 April 2008

It's been over a week since I came back from Bad Berka (close to Weimar) for two days working with Cultures Interactive. It was intense there, and even more so after coming back to Berlin. My friends from Rome came to play in Berlin with their band Mithra, and it was such an amazing concert. Goes in my top 10 for sure*. It is great that they are my friends and that these friends produce such great music. They keep evolving and trying out new stuff and that is what I like a lot in bands, not sticking to the same old stuff. They brought out a new CD which is great, they play with a percussionist who hits the djembe Senegalese style (which I came to like, to my own surprise); I hope they will soon put one of the new songs on their site for everyone to hear!

With all these Italians coming to Berlin, even a bottle of Chin8 Neri magically popped up. Chinotto is very hard to find in Berlin and even if, it is the Pellegrino brand, which is nothing compared to the real bitterness and full taste that Chin8 Neri offers. Drinking this mix of chinotto citrus fruit extract and herbs, I get launched back at hot afternoon lunches in Rome, accompanied by good food. And there it stands, the rare bottle, during lunch time with good food and friends, on one of the first spring days on my roof! (The bottle has a new design ((here the old design)) and some voices say also the taste changed. I think it looks stylish and tastes the same. Any opinions on this?)

The Romans now unfortunately have left and with their warm presence also the group-excursions into Berlin's nightlife...Which is slightly better for my health and my productivity...More time to reflect when the choice is not between Kreuzburger or Aki Tatsu, but between writing a blog and going to sleep.

Back to BAD Berka, which really does deserve its first name... Intense it was, these two days we spent with the Klosterschule students. Without going into too many details (these on request), I can say that there are some people there who do not share my and the project's tolerant and democratic opinions, and are willing to act on that...

Therefore, lunch break on the first day was mainly spent with checking out some right wing stupids who tried to make their way into the school, causing panic amongst the students. Poor kids, so young, already scared about getting beaten up because of alleged 'political' opinions such as wearing band shirts....But as things had calmed down a little, I made my way into the class room where I held my workshop on Gefundenes Fressen, which is where also school lunch was served. Apparently, this was only for to the young kids. The two 'ovens' were situated in what was really just an ordinary class room. The woman that served it had the task of getting the boxes out and opening them for the kids. I did not get a chance to see what was actually in them, as I had some other things to do (eating lunch myself: bread and spread and an apple, bought by my colleague Nico, thanks for that!). Too bad I did not have time or focus to investigate about this way of serving food at a school.

I did find some other funny things on this school. This picture goes into the category 'pictures that frighten me'.** It was pinned on a wall in a classroom.

Then this sign was above the toilets in the hallway, i think it looks cool!

After work, we ate our „big meals“ in the restaurant in our hotel: very mediocre Greek (!) food and quite expensive....In a small town like Bad Berka, of course, options are limited. There are about 3 places where you could eat food more than just a snack. We ate a couple of times in a place which was not bad at all – it has a quite extensive vegetarian menu – the Ratsstuben in the centre. Well, we did go in, but never got our food!! This due to the fact that we chose to stand behind our colleague when she was threatened by right wing stupids just outside the door – the owner of the place 'didn't want anything to do with that' and pleased us to leave. Nice way to keep your customers happy!***

The next day we spent in Kranichfeld, to put up the Open Space in the sporthall of the school there. This sporthall was not our first choice, but the bad people again decided we could not be at the place where we originally intended to go.

It was very cold in Kranichfeld, and it reminded me of the days in November we spent there. It felt as if the weather had not changed since then; grey sky, a wet cold creeping into my bones, foggy...Remember the potatoes with the radiant sauce taken in this school? This time, no such food for us, since the canteen was only open to students this day. After a long day of work and surviving on bread brought from breakfast, we ended up in Blankenhain. We had to take care of our van at the Volkswagen garage there, because mysterically, a screw had found its way into one of the tires.... All restaurants close between 13.00 and 17.00 in small German towns, which is exactly the time we finish working and want to eat. After making a small closed restaurant odyssee in Blankenhain, we humbly ended up eating our supermarkt-bought lunch on the supermarkt parking lot....

I was more than happy to be back in Berlin and to have a choice of where to eat...Yet realizing that I find myself in the luxurious position to do this, whereas the nice kids I worked with are stuck in that BAD place. Hope the project can contribute to make their lives a little better....

Conclusion: no food for us on the schools, getting kicked out of a restaurant, eating supermarket lunch sitting on a parking place....I wonder if things will become any worse this year! Too bad the next time to find this out will only be in June.

* Also ranking: Trial in Budapest in 2005, Catharsis in Poortgebouw Rotterdam 2001, Zegota in De Vliegende Hond Utrecht 2003, By the Grace of God in Volta Amsterdam 1997, Explosions in the Sky in Paradiso Amsterdam 2007, Yage in Acu Utrecht ????, Highscore in Baracke Münster 2004, Tragedy in Köpi Berlin in 2003 and Betercore in Leiden ????

** The picture that made me make up this category I found in Marnitz. It was painted on the wall in the youth hostel we stayed at. Despite the bright neon light shining on it, it freaked me out....

*** Schlechte Werbung nochmal auf Deutsch: der Inhaber von dem Gasthaus Ratsstuben in Bad Berka hatte uns dringend gebeten, den Raum zu verlassen, nachdem unsere Kollegin beim Telefonieren vor der Tür von Naaazis bedroht wurde und wir sie verteidigen wollten. Seine Worte: 'Mit sowas will ich nichts zu tun haben'. Wir wurden also rausgeschickt, als wir uns in einer gefährlichen Situation befunden, die definitiv nicht von uns verursacht wurde. Super, so zeigt man Gastfreundschaft und Zivilcourage! Leider war das Wort Zivilcourage in Bad Berka nicht nur an dieser einen Stelle unbekannt, sondern scheint es ein weitverbreitetes Phänomen zu sein , dass die Menschen in Bad Berka lieber die Problematik von sich weisen und Veranstaltungen gegen Rechtsextremismus nicht zulassen, Treffen verhindern und generell kein offenes Bekenntnis gegen Nazis ablegen, weil sie alle davon ausgehen, dass es "doch lieber die Anderen machen sollen" und dass man eigentlich mal dem gesamten Ort eine Schulung in Zivilcourage verpassen müsste.