The Charity House

Give a little bit – Give a little bit of your love to me
Give a little bit – I’ll give a little bit of my love to you
There’s so much that we need to share
So send a smile and show you care

Over the weekend we went to visit my German family. We have always called it “the village”, one long road in a town of a few 100 people, where my grandmother, uncles, aunts and cousins and all their children live one house after the other. It’s a lovely place to visit, as once we wake up in the morning, all we have to do is open the door to ample opportunities: barbecue at the house opposite, play in the park on the corner, challenge the kids to a football match in the middle of the street…

However, not all of the family decided to stay in the same village. One of my aunts moved to the adjacent village just 2 kilometres away with her husband . Yesterday we went on a little guided tour in this village by my uncle.

Excitingly for us, the local press turned up to make a little article about our trip, as I had brought my Japanese grandmother and her friend too. The town had never been visited by two Japanese people before, so we were treated to an exclusive tour.

写真2My uncle had managed to get the keys for the church (normally it was open, but last week someone had run off with the money box, so currently it needs a key to open it). We looked inside: this is the seat my uncle would sit in every Sunday, these are the stained-glass windows, here is the bowl with the holy water… It was probably the last time we would be able to go inside the church, as the priest was moving to another parish and the congregation would have to go to a neighbouring village now for the church service. The door will soon be locked shut.

Continuing on the tour, we entered the local sports hall, rare for such a small village. Thirty years ago, the people decided to build it themselves and chipped in what money they could. Now it is used for children, the local school, senior residents’ exercise mornings and meetings. We saw the local house with the garden made entirely out of bamboo and the pole that is put up in the summer months, showing the centre point of the village. We even spotted a tiny dog being cycled home. No playing with this dog though, as apparently he likes to bite.

photo 5My favourite place we visited however, was the Guckhaus. This used to be a cow barn and it was converted over 1.5 years by around 50 residents into a place where you can bring old things that still work, that you no longer have any use for. Twice a week it is opened to the public and has the motto: “der eine gibt’s, der andere nimmt’s”, translated as “one brings it, the other takes it”. For example, you can bring one book and swap it with another. However, if you want to take two books instead, then there is a little box at the entrance and you can put inside an amount you think it is worth.写真

It is much more than a library. There are all kinds of things to pick up. From cups and saucers to ornaments and paintings, candle holders and lamps to bags and dolls. It reminded me of the charity shops we have back home, but this one is run by the locals for the locals and any money made is put back into the village. Even if you don’t want to bring or take anything, they have set up some chairs and a table and it seems many people just come for a chat and a cup of coffee.

photo 3During our visit, the village was kind enough to give both of the Japanese tourists a little present of their choice as a reminder of their time spent there. My grandmother took a cup and saucer, while her friend took a plate. photo 1A wonderful memory of a wonderful place. If you get the chance to visit, don’t forget to bring something for the shelves.

And in case you were wondering, we will put up a photo of the newspaper article once it is (hopefully) printed.

 

WHAT: Guckhaus,
WHERE: Brinkstrasse, Adlum, Niedersachsen 31177
HOW MUCH: Free entry
**Open Wednesdays from 16:00-18:00 and Saturdays 11:00-13:00**

2 Comments

  1. vielen für diesen liebevollen blick auf ein liebenswerten ort mit sehenswerten initiativen und einrichtungen
    wir fühlen uns hier sehr wohl und freuen uns über diesen herrlichen artikel in fremder sprache und in einem fernen land – liebe grüße vom vorsitzenden des fördervereins und dem verwalter des guckhauses

  2. nachsatz: es muss natürlich korrekterweise heißen: einen liebevollen blick und die kleinen buchstaben wähle ich wegen der vereinfachten schreibweise — danke für die nachsicht

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