My name is Lukasz Lachowicz, and I was born and grew up in Szczecin, Poland. I live in New Zealand now.
When Regenbogenfabrik came to life in 1981 I was only 10 years old, still living far away on the other side of the Iron Curtain in communist Poland. Little did I know that some 150 km west – yet light years away in many respects – a group of people was coming together as Renegbogenfabrik in Kreuzberg, and that one day they would become an inseparable part of my life’s story!
That story and my connection with Regenbogenfabrik started with Christine Ziegler in 1998.
I first met Christine when she came as a Regenbogenfabrik “ambassador” to the local fair of non-government organisations in my hometown of Szczecin in Poland. She was looking for contacts with similar people, similar communities, trying to build a link between Szczecin and Berlin.
I remember that the fair was at our beautiful historic Renaissance castle, it was cold, gloomy and raining outside (no rainbows, unfortunately), but I also remember being very inspired by the whole core idea of Regenbogenfabrik: that a group of friends can stay together, commit themselves to building a lasting home together, living as a community where there is a place for everyone and sustain themselves over the years through social projects in a local community. it was visionary and ahead of its time. I was fascinated. I wanted to learn more.
Very soon after I visited Regenbogenfabrik for the first time with my partner Andrew (who was a New Zealander), met Christine again, met her Lieblingsoekonom Martin, and the others from the Essensgruppe. Friendship grew quickly. Many subsequent trips / visits followed, both in Poland and in Germany. We did many wonderful cycling trips and walking trips, including in the Tatra mountains in Poland. We cooked and sat over some spectacular and epic Kochevents at Regenbogenfabrik! What grew from those encounters has been an amazing and a precious friendship that has lasted for more than 20 years.
Of course, we kept in close touch even after I moved to New Zealand 21 years ago. In 2006 Christine and Martin came for a visit to New Zealand and the four of us stayed in Marlborough Sounds and we walked the beautiful Heaphy Track in the South Island.
I always visit Regenbogenfabrik and stay with Christine and Martin in Berlin each time I travel back to Europe – it would be unthinkable not to see them if I come anywhere near Poland! They have become a part of life’s rich tapestry, or a part of a woven cloth, metaphorically speaking. Great things have small beginnings.
Looking back over the years, I think I was blessed on that rainy day in Szczecin in 1998. As years go by I appreciate my connection with Regenbogenfabrik very dearly. Precious friendship. Long may it continue despite the passage of time, despite the physical distance, and despite COVID!