Bridging cultures to build community in the Midcoast

On a recent sunny September afternoon, the Mid Coast New Mainers Group hosted an Open House at the Community Garden on Washington Street in Bath, a collaborative effort between Bath gardener Hugh Briggs and the Mid Coast New Mainers Group. About 20very enthusiastic people showed up including Board members Georgianna Wright, Karen Armstrong, Cathey Cyrus, Nadine Twagirayeza, Joanne Rosenthal, Andree Appel and Odette Zouri.

We enjoyed some traditional West African beverages, one called bissap which is a rich, deep red tea made from hibiscus blossoms, and a very potent lemon/ginger iced tea, thanks to our friends Jeanne and Rachel. Gardeners Odette Zouri and Hugh Briggs gave a tour of the garden and talked about some of the traditional African vegetables they had planted: amaranth, Jew’s mallow and African beans, to name a few. Amaranth is a staple of African cuisine but unlike other cultures, like in South America, it is prized for its leaves and not the red grain that mature plants produce. Lots of people picked leaves and learned how to make a typical African “leaf sauce” thanks to Odette and Nadine.

This was the second year for the community garden, lovingly tended by Odette Zouri and Hugh Briggs. Although the plot on Washington Street may not be available next year, the group is committed to continuing this project and is looking to partner with other community gardening groups in Bath to make this happen. We would like to thank Whatley Farm in Topsham and the Somali Bantu Farmers New Roots Cooperative in Lewiston for their help in providing the seeds and starters that were needed to realize this garden.

Mid Coast New Mainers Group is an independent 501(c)(3) whose mission is to mobilize local support to welcome immigrant families and foster intercultural connection across southern Midcoast Maine. Contact us at or find the Mid Coast New Mainers Group on Facebook.

Andree Appel,
Chairperson of Mid Coast New Mainers Group,

Antiwar vigil planned at BIW

Oct. 2-9 marks the International Days of Protest to Stop the Militarization of Space. Actions are happening worldwide.

In Maine, we will gather on Oct. 9 at Bath Iron Works from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. We will vigil in front of the Bath Iron Works administration building to say No! to the continued development, construction and deployment of the Aegis Cruise Missile Destroyers and the new Zumwalt DDX-1000 Destroyers that are now under construction.

The amount of money involved in the building of these warships is absolutely obscene and their use constitutes a crime against humanity as they kill indiscriminately. These warships’ missiles are directed by space technology from control centers around the globe. These warships fire missiles at targets hundreds of miles away providing a shock and awe type of terrorism in which collateral damage is considered acceptable for a military goal.

By building these warships we are perpetuating an arms race that is counter to the interests of humanity and all living beings on this planet. The spirit of all the arms control negotiations that have taken place in our lifetimes is being violated by what is being built at Bath Iron Works. The United Nations Outer Space Treaty states that “no nation should be allowed to put weapons into space and that space must be preserved for the benefit of all humankind.” We are deeply concerned that the U.S. Space Command has stated as their goal to control and dominate space. We feel that the goal for all of us, for the sake of our children and all living things, must be to work towards the disarmament of all weapons of mass destruction at the earliest possible date. This is clearly not going on here at Bath Iron Works and we ask all who can to join us for an hour to say enough is enough. Let’s join together to stop this military madness.

George and Maureen Ostensen,

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