Berlin Calling :-D

Last day at work before going to Berlin.Marwa had to make sure that everything is under control :-)
Last day at work before going to Berlin.Marwa had to make sure that everything is under control 🙂
bis spater Nairobi ;-)
bis spater Nairobi 😉
Berlin Calling :-)
Berlin Calling 🙂
wieder in Deutschland :-D
wieder in Deutschland 😀

Marwa has a thing for big cities and in particular she has a thing for Berlin and it seems that Berlin has something new and interesting every year for Marwa. This year Marwa returned to Berlin on a DAAD scholarship to attend both the University of Potsdam summer school on international nutrition: Future Food and FENS 15, the International European Nutrition Conference.

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Future Food Summer School 2015

Berlin stands on the vast European plain in North Eastern Germany on the banks of the river spree. Its history has been one of triumph and tragedy, tyranny and transformation. Brought to her knees by two world wars and then divided throughout much of the cold world; Berlin has re-emerged blossoming into one of the world’s economic and creative powerhouses. With a population of only 3.5 million, Berlin enjoys an air of spaciousness not found in many other European capitals and is an incredibly green city both physically and politically. At times it feels to me as if the city was built just to fill in the gaps between its many parks, forests and lakes.

The river Spree
The river Spree
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” ― Albert Camus
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
― Albert Camus

 

 

A legacy of Berlin’s checkered history is a cityscape of every imaginable architectural style. From the gothic to the baroque, from the socialist to the futuristic yet somehow it all works MAGNIFICENTLY.

Berlin's skyline
Berlin’s skyline
Berlin's main train station is bigger than some of the airports that I have seen!
Berlin’s main train station is bigger than some of the airports that I have seen!

The Brandenburg gate rose in the 18th century as a symbol of peace, it was battered in the Second World War, then isolated by the division of Berlin before becoming the rallying point during the joyous days of the reunification.A block to the north -the Reichstag, is also a symbol of a Berlin reborn. Gutted by fire in 1933 and reduced to rubble during the fall of Berlin, today the transparent dome provides its visitors with a bird’s eye view of the city. On her last day in Berlin and while strolling the streets of Berlin ,Marwa saw the German Chancellor Angela Merkel arriving at her office steps away from the Reichstag.

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The Reichstag
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Frau Merkel in a blue jacket. Credits goes to Paparazzi Marwa

The summer school agenda was very interesting and diverse. We attended lectures by professors, researchers and professionals who spoke to us about their efforts -each within his field- in how to diversify food production systems and increase food quality and production scalability. We, the DAAD Alumni were also given the chance to tell others about our current research activities. Of course Marwa had to tell them about her good old friends: the black soldier flies 🙂 I was happy that my talk was well received and has given the people to think of insects from another perspective rather than just being yucky unwanted creatures.

Black soldier flies and Marwa are all into talking to people on how to turn their trash into cash :-)
Black soldier flies and Marwa are all into talking to people on how to turn their trash into cash 🙂
Vibrant discussions with an interesting multicultural group of scholars.
Vibrant discussions with an interesting multicultural group of scholars.
Jam Session: an interesting and a very contemporary workshop. Marwa really enjoyed it :-)
Jam Session: an interesting and a very contemporary workshop. Marwa really enjoyed it 🙂
The Uni Potsdam president opening the summer school program and giving us a welcome speech.
The Uni Potsdam president opening the summer school program and giving us a welcome speech.
World Cafe Workshop on indigenous abandoned plants and their role as a future food.
World Cafe Workshop on indigenous abandoned plants and their role as a future food.
Marwa is happy to receive this certificate :-)
Marwa is happy to receive this certificate 🙂

During the summer school, we went to the cinema to watch the documentary 10 Billion – What’s on your plate? By Valentin Thurn and the best thing is that we had the whole cinema for ourselves. Valentin Thurn through his film seeks for global solutions to the greatest challenge of the 21st century which is how to feed the 10 billion who are expected to live on planet Earth by 2050.He looks into futuristic visions and solutions such including artificial meat, insects and industrial farming as well as trendy self-cultivation. To be honest, the documentary provoked many questions rather than providing me with simple answers and it made me visualize the challenge we are facing when it comes to producing more food in a sustainable and cost effective way.

Our cinema,well at least it was for the night :-P
Our cinema, well at least it was for the night 😛

The summer school’s interesting agenda also included an excursion to Berlin’s EFC farm, the largest European urban aquaponics farm. EFC is a unique farm that combines agriculture with hydroponics. The plants and vegetables are fertilized by the water in the air and the resulting harvest known as microgreens are sold at the farm shop. We had a tomato’s taste session at the farm shop and believe me those tomatoes tasted really good. Although the system is environmental friendly and efficient in terms of water and nutrients consumptions, Marwa has doubts about affordability and scalability and whether such a system would be useful and sufficient to meet up with the growing demands.

EFC Farm has a beautiful site
EFC Farm has a beautiful site
Trying their tomatoes and I have to be honest they taste so good
Trying their tomatoes and I have to be honest they taste so good 🙂
Never judge a sauce by its cover :-p
Never judge a sauce by its cover :-p

Following our excursion to the farm, we had a paleo lunch at Berlin’s Eat Performance. Paleo food is a diet based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans, consisting chiefly of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit, and excluding dairy or grain products and processed food. To be honest, the lunch was delicious and the staff were very friendly and we had a great time. The restaurant itself housed in what seemed to me like an abandoned warehouse building and it has a very distinctive atmosphere.

Eating like a caveman
Eating like a caveman
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Caveman muffins.Soo good
Caveman salad and drinks
Caveman salad and drinks
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Caveman pumpkin soup
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Caveman made some good slider burgers

 

Following the summer school, we got the chance to attend FENS 15 which was a chance to learn more about nutrition’s direct influence on human health. Many talks and workshops were taking place at the same time and Marwa wished if she had some spare replicates to attend the whole program on her behalf J Marwa was keen on attending talks related to food regulations, policies and consumption patterns. She believes that science alone can’t solve issues and therefore scientists should work side by side with policy makers, legislators and behavior social scientists in order to allow humans make profit out of scientific innovations and explorations.

FENS2015
FENS 2015
FENS 2015 Opening session
FENS 2015 Opening session
Conference goodies,a good reason to attend conference :-D
Conference goodies,a good reason to attend conference 😀
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Listening to an interesting talk about the effect of nutrition on againg.Wow
e-Poster sessions take over the traditional printed poster sessions.A good idea to promote green technology!
e-Poster sessions take over the traditional printed poster sessions.A good idea to promote green technology!

On her last few days in Berlin, Marwa started having some mixed emotions. She was ready to return back to her work and routine yet it was difficult for her to leave a city that she has so many beautiful memories in almost every famous quarter of it. She met up with some of her good old friends who happened to be in Berlin too and they had hot chocolates, Russian honey cakes and pizza bites too. Although the weather was cold and foggy, she had to take a walk in Tempelhof which happens to be a deserted airport turned into a public park. She doesn’t know when will Tempelhof be developed into a perhaps housing estates project but all what she knows that she won’t get the liberty and privilege of walking along an empty runaway everyday.

Tempelhof park
Tempelhof park
A cup of hot chocolate and a very dear friend.What else would Marwa ask for?
A cup of hot chocolate and a very dear friend.What else would Marwa ask for?
Marwa totally recommends Einstein's cafe's Russian honey cake..Yummy
Marwa totally recommends Einstein’s cafe’s Russian honey cake..Yummy

The flight back to Nairobi was smooth and fast. Marwa spent most of the time rejoicing the great time she had in Berlin and kept on wondering: why can’t everywhere else on this planet be as organized as Germany?

Marwa is very thankful to Prof Dr. Florian J. Schweigert and his two wonderful helping hands Dr.Ina Henkel and Ms. Katrin Kuehn for their hospitality and the great program they organized for us and to the DAAD for financing this participation.

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Marwa Shumo Written by:

An environment biotechnologist,a junior researcher & a doctoral fellow. I am here to report my adventures as a visiting scholar and a field researcher in Kenya :-) My research in a nutshell is waste and flies..Follow my blog posts for further information.

2 Comments

  1. Hind
    May 15, 2016
    Reply

    Enjoying 😉

    • Marwa Shumo
      May 15, 2016
      Reply

      Dear Hind,
      Keep on having fun 😀

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