The slightly different Christmas party with CASHBOARD
January 14, 2016
As Christmas is a time of giving, this year CASHBOARD came up with a slightly different Christmas party idea: instead of hosting a big drinking party for all hardworking CASHBOARD staff everyone came together as volunteers and agreed to cook a Christmas meal for residents of a refugee center in Berlin Wannsee. What we experienced there and our impressions we present to you now here.
Friday evening it kicked off!
At 15:30 all CASHBOARD helpers found themselves in the kitchen of the Baptist Church in Berlin Wannsee to prepare the feast. Before getting down to cooking the dining hall was festively decorated and a small reception area with small snacks and drinks was set up for arriving guests from the nearby refugee center. A cosy open fire was lit in the rear courtyard of the church.
There was cooking, some sports and lots of laughter
With a bit of a delay Omar returned from his shopping trip with all the ingredients required to prepare a tasty arabian dish. Full of energy everyone lent a hand and soon chaos reigned in the kitchen. After that a few of us were sent to the reception area to welcome all arrivals.
A short while later the first arrivals started to come. Even without understanding the others language everyone quickly got into conversation with each other. While the food was still being prepared in the kitchen there were intense duels between helpers and refugees at Table Tennis and Table Football. There was a lot of laughter and anticipation of good food. Served up was an arabic noodle soup with chickpeas and fried flatbread.
Google Translate fulfilled its purpose
Where possible chatting was in German or in English. As most couldn't speak either language communication was mostly with hands and feet. And when even the physical displays couldn't be understood we would just get Omar, who also helped out as a translator. Google Translate was an important component in facilitating some conversations. During the many discussions that we as the CASHBOARD team had with the refugees, not only was cultural topics exchanged, but also personal stories entrusted to each other. These discussions were extremely interesting for our helpers.
We think it's good to help!
From the organizer of the Christmas cooking evening, Natasha, we learned that this event takes place once a week. She told us that each time more and more people come and of course the space provided by the Church is gradually becoming too crowded. But as long as the capacity for it still exists, Natasha and her team will continue to offer cooking for the refugees. She also pointed out that in addition to the refugee center in Berlin Wannsee there are numerous other shelters around Berlin, which currently need volunteers.
Our conclusion: We think it's important to help! It doesn't matter if you do something big or small. Often small gestures can do a lot of good.