A lion, a smile and a yellow leaf – Open Hearts Space during the pandemic

The Open Hearts Space has continued to support its community through socially-distanced activities during the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns. The Project Manager Antonina Stasiuk tells us about the challenges they face and how they address them.

For many of us, the pandemic and lockdown period have been a time of uncertainty, fear, and an increased sense of isolation and loneliness. It has been a time that we seek contact with another person, and need a community to give us a sense that we are not alone. We need a structure that provides us with the feeling that although the world turns upside down, not everything changes.

Just as we used to meet on Tuesdays at Open Arts Space in Refugio, so we meet now on Zoom. There is no joyful chaos, no conversations in the aisle, or children running around. But there is music, concentration, and once in a while, a smile sent through the screen.

Just as we used to meet in one room during Thursday’s Frauensprachcafé, so we continue to meet online. Now, we cannot enjoy a cup of tea together or give a hug to say goodbye. However, by breaking this social distance with an atmosphere of warmth and closeness, we can also welcome women to our Zoom sessions, for whom coming to a physical space would not have been possible for various reasons.

In the next few weeks and maybe months, we will not go to the cinema with the children, which they asked for so much, but we will go for a walk now and make a contest on who will find the yellowest leaf. We will not meet as a bunch, but by talking to each and every child alone, maybe we can finally find out “how furious a furious lion is.”

This period has certainly not been the easiest for us. However, looking at it calmly, maybe we can notice a chance to welcome something different during this time – silence, slowness, reflection, and appreciation of the importance of another person in our life.

See some photos from Open Hearts Space activities during the pandemic below.