Photo: MitOst
Photo: MitOst

Desert, Chacha and business – Georgia at its best

A visit to the MitOst Festival 2016 in Tbilisi (Georgia) – 5.-9/October/2016 by Marlene Haas (Lust auf besser leben)

The MitOst Festival was quite more impressive than I had expected. I arrived at night in Georgia, where I met Austrian architects at the airport who organzied a heritage tour – and who had already heard about MitOst – like everybody in Tbilisi, what I found out later.

I arrived at Fabrika, a really cool place, let’s call it ‘Future Lab’. A big hostel which you love from second one. Space for handcrafts, Impact Hub for social business, two bars and an art space. In the huge yard you could sit on old beds where, at night, you could just relax and enjoy yourself while drinking a (Czech) beer or a Chacha (google it :-)).

The program of the festival was full of input and workshops to choose from. From Georgian dance over baking bread to fundraising or PechaKucha with Georgian social start-ups. The community was huge, more than 450 people.

But let’s come to the point. The last days we (which means Argyro and I, Martin had unfortunatelly left earlier, and a few women we met) made a trip to an old Monastery in the desert. But not only that. Do you see that boot on the picture?

These are army boots. Because we suddenly, after a quick walk, had to face the Azerbaijan border. Which is actually a high mountain spine. You just walk on top of it for quite a while. I have never seen a place where you could see so far. And that’s at a border location – which makes it actually really cool. In a way, like a reminder of how big the possibilities can be – as big as the view.

But let’s go back to the spot. We left a few hours later and came to the ‘Oasis’. A nice place where Polish people thought it would be useful to build a hostel (in the desert), a bar and a stage for art.

It sounds strange, but there where so many people. Such a nice atmosphere. And a great experience of ‘rural commons’ which had been a workshop topic before. Every day the boys from a small village came to the place to learn new skills like painting. So they started a small business. They sold pictures which where really interesting for the tourists. One of them said “Our products are sell really well, I think we will raise the price.” I just thought “Okay, that is business in the desert. They got it”.

So finally I just have to say, I loved that trip. And I love Fabrika. But I didn’t like the Chacha.



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