NIP International Feast
26th March 2018
Norwich Integration Partnership International Feast – 22nd March 2018
The first event of its kind for the Norwich Integration Partnership (NIP), the International Feast was a huge project organised to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures that refugees, asylum seekers and migrant communities bring to Norwich, as well as raising money for NIP. We can learn so much about one another just by sharing and enjoying each other’s food and hospitality, and what’s not to love about trying new dishes and discovering new favourites?
The day started early for most in the Blackfriars Hall kitchen. The chefs for the day were all volunteers from 16 different countries eager to showcase their talents and recipes in a buffet style feast. (You can see the very ambitious menu below!)
Everybody was grateful to have professional chefs Blaise and Abdul on hand to help guide in the kitchen. We just about managed to avoid complete chaos thanks to them! The kitchen was jam packed all day with both the volunteer chefs and NIP volunteers doing their best, with all hands-on deck.
There were so many volunteers from all the organisations in NIP helping. It was great to see everybody playing a part to ensure the evening went smoothly. It was truly a team effort, from the dishwashing team in the kitchen ensuring cutlery was cleaned on time, to the colourful table settings that were all hand painted; everything was done by volunteers!
The night opened with vibrant speeches from the Lord Mayor and the Sheriff of Norwich, as well as a speech from Maurice Wren, CEO of the Refugee Council.
Entertainment came in the form of music throughout the night. Sefo Kanuteh dazzled with a beautiful piece on the kora, followed by a brilliant performance by Moussa Ibrahim. The audience was hushed in awe at the wonderful performances. There was also a routine from 1/3 of the band Blasian. It was a perfect showcase of the diverse musical talent Norwich has to offer.
More entertainment came in the form of poetry by Eric Ngalle Charles, reading from his book ‘Asylum’, which recounts his journey through the British immigration system. It was extremely touching to get a first-hand account of some of the hardships people may face.
The final event of the night was a live art auction of a number of pieces that were generously donated by local and nationally renowned artists. Traditional paintings, prints and a sculpture all found new homes and every penny of the £1718 raised in the auction will go towards NIP.
The evening closed with the raffle prizes being awarded and moving closing speeches by the Lord Mayor and the Sheriff reminding us why they chose NIP as the 2017/18 Civic Charity. It was decided after the arson of the Romanian food shop on Magdalen street in 2016 and the divisive nature of Brexit saw tensions in the city rise. The Lord Mayor and the Sheriff both agreed that by choosing NIP as the Civic Charity, the true attitude of Norwich’s citizens could be reflected.
It was such a lively evening that brought together lots of different people from all backgrounds A huge thank you to all the chefs, volunteers, speakers, performers, art donors, kitchen coordinator, Blaise Vasseur and event organiser, Abi Ward, without whom there would have been no evening! What a tremendous success! Stay tuned to our Facebook page for more photos…
Shalu Vallepur – New Routes volunteer
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