Jewett City man encouraging diverse people to eat dinner together

JEWETT CITY, Conn. (WTNH) — Remember the art of conversation without cell phones? Adam Bowles of Jewett City is trying to get folks from different parts of the world to sit down to dinner together and just talk and learn about each other.

Bowles is piloting his “Fresh Air Nation” in Norwich because the city is home to so many different ethnicities. He’s signing up host families to serve up their particular country’s foods, and you sign up to eat in their home.

“It’s the old new way or the new old way, that’s how I describe it,” said Bowles. “It’s how it was first done. When immigrants came into a community and they were welcomed, they didn’t need the internet to figure it all out, but they sat down across from each other and neighbors would welcome each other that way. The new part is connecting them through the website and some of the networking. We piloted it with a, I should say we sampled, with one family from Haiti and it was a fantastic experience. The Mayor of Norwich attended. We had some church leaders and some social services leaders, and the hosts were fantastic. It was originally going to be the couple, I think their children and a grandfather or grandmother showed up, so it was a big family kind of affair. They poured themselves into the meal. They poured themselves into the story. The people who attended raved about it afterwards. The mayor said it was one of the most inspirational nights she had while in office as mayor.”

Bowles calls his plan a living museum that promotes immigration integration in communities in a powerful way, face-to-face.

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