91 Ways volunteer Sandi Dheensa talks to us about her passion for uniting people over food:
“Food – especially food from across the world – is my number one passion. The thought of breakfast is what gets me out of my warm bed on a cold morning, and reflections on what I have cooked that day drift through my mind as I fall asleep at night. So, when I saw that 91 Ways was looking for a volunteer, I was had to apply. I currently volunteer on an ad-hoc basis at Bristol Refugee Rights in fundraising and events. I think the work of 91 Ways goes hand in hand with this position. One of the first things I do when I meet someone from another place is ask them about food from their country and where in Bristol does it best. I have found that almost everyone loves to talk about food. It makes people smile when they tell me what they enjoy cooking and eating.
My love of global food and sharing stories is one of the reasons I have been a ‘Couchsurfing’ host for a year. Couchsurfers are an online community of people who love travel and, rather than booking expensive and impersonal hotels, stay with locals for free. Bristol has a particularly active scene. I have so far hosted people from Scotland, Germany, New Zealand, France, Netherlands, Ukraine, Poland, Italy, and Spain. Again, food is the first thing I ask about. Many guests have cooked for us or brought us something from their country, and each time it’s been fantastic. Not only has the food been delicious, but I’ve found it’s a great way to connect with them, their history, and their culture. I also love to take guests to the great places to eat in Bristol – especially the pop-up restaurants, street food markets, and, being a long-time vegetarian, veggie and vegan cafes.