At the beginning of November, shortly before the introduction of soft lockdown measures, the Croatian Volpower team (IRMO) organized Volhub in Zagreb for volunteers and other amateur actors from the Forum Theater. Zagreb Volhub consisted of two parts: socializing, discussing about further participating in Volpower activities and exchanging our experiences over dinner and going to a play at the Crazy House Theater.
Blogpost by Nikica Kolar, Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
Given the extraordinary conditions that befell us all with the covid-19 pandemic, it was the first meeting in person of the project coordinator and all the volunteers since early spring. This rare opportunity made the night even more special, as we finally had the opportunity to articulate all our volunteer experiences and discuss the continuation of volunteer activities in culture after the successful premiere of the theater play by their group Forum Theater. In addition to the excellent food in the restaurant, emotions also flowed and many Volhub participants opened up and said that during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic they had a very stressful and difficult period, especially at the time of the great earthquake in Zagreb. They told us that it was extremely difficult for them to balance academic obligations and work, and many of them lost their jobs during the first lockdown, and did not even know when the first lockdown would end and when they would be reemployed or get another job, which affected all their other private affairs.
As their entire social lives have shifted to social media platforms due to epidemiological measures, they have found solace in a number of social contacts, including newly made friendships which were forged during volunteering in the Volpower project. All in all, the first part of Volhub ended in a joyful mood and with the exchange of pleasant and less pleasant experiences that these uncertain times have built us up.
One of core ideas of Volhub was to take our volunteers in culture to the theater to enrich their volunteer experience in culture. After dinner, we watched the play Complete Strangers at the Crazy House Theater, based on the most watched Italian film of 2016, “Perfetti sconosciuti” directed by Paolo Genovese. The plot of the play revolves around a dinner of friends who at one point decide to present in front of everyone else each message or call they receive on their cell phone, including notifications on social media platforms. Through these strict social rules friends discover the dark sides about one another and about their partners and how much lies and secrets actually bind them together.
In sum, I think the organization of Volhub was entirely successful, because our Volhub participants went home happy and enriched with new knowledge, experience and in a cheerful spirit towards the new uncertainties and difficulties that 2020 does not spare us at all.
By Nikica Kolar