Mundus maris garden party to reinvigorate a multicultural neighbourhood

We often have the feeling of just having "to function", irrespective of whether we feel good about a job, a cause, or in a place.

That can easily lead to feeling isolated and even vulnerable to things not working well at local level or feeling exposed in the face of wider, global change.

At Mundus maris we felt that recreating a friendly neighbourhood and togetherness would also make it easier to learn together how to cope with difficulties, see the opportunities within the challenges and strengthen mutual help.

What does this have to do with refugees and ocean protection? It turns out, a lot.

So, neighbours in Hilden, Germany, friends and relations were invited to a garden party with a hope to have a good time together and make a contribution towards the work with refugees and for Mundus maris.

The response to the invitation was already heart-warming as so many happily seized the opportunity to connect.

Flocking into the garden, bringing flowers, poems, good humour and food along, the guests were welcomed by Mundus maris host, Cornelia Nauen.

To warm up, they were invited to participate in a group quiz.

That brought people together who did not necessarily know each other beforehand, to explore the garden and combine their knowledge to answer questions on the garden itself, the ocean and on refugees.

Time flew by as the groups formed, milled around and shared the observations and ingenuity of their members for the quiz.

Meanwhile, drinks and cakes were readied for everybody, while the kids were already taking over the playground.

After collecting the quiz sheets, the buffet of delicious home-made cakes was opened. Everybody was finding a place to sit and enjoy the food, the music and the company quickly delving into intense conversations.

Luckily, a fierce, short rain only poured down after the first round of coffee. Undeterred, guests gathered under the roofs of the workshop turned party hall and an additional protective tent. When the sun came out again, everybody helped to wipe off the water and continue with their conversations.

To everybody's delight, members of the neighbourhood group 50+ made their special contribution to the entertainment by performing Loriot sketches.

Then it was time for the host to take the floor and underline that it was practising good citizenship to welcome those fleeing environmental desasters and conflict.  That was the case with the Syrian and other refugees arriving in Hilden and elsewhere in Germany. 

After all but closing the Balkan route, more refugees were now taking again the even more hazardous route across the Mediterranean Sea, many losing their lives.

We want the sea to be a link between people and cultures, not a graveyard!

Even if we live some distance from the ocean, we need to know that every second breath we take depends on the ocean. The ocean is essential for life on earth, for stabilising the climate, for food, transport, energy, recreation and much more. We need to protect it more effectively from such threats as overfishing, climate change, pollution.

The connections between practising good citizenship towards those in need from near and far and protecting the environment are strong and require our active commitment.

We are all connected to the ocean!

Turning to the quiz, Cornelia revealed the answers. No team had all of them completed correctly.

Yasmine, a girl from the neighbourhood, then picked one from the quiz sheets with most good anwers.

A big clap for the winning team  which received a bottle of champaign.

The final words were devoted to thanking all those who had made the party possible through their voluntary contributions.

With that the barbecue chats and more music could get started and continuing well into the night.

For the soccer enthusiasts not wanting to miss a game of the European championship, the quarter final of the day - Italy against Germany - was screened until midnight - closing a lovely day together with lots of suspense.

Pictures by Paolo Bottoni.