Andrea, a Spanish volunteer, proposed at the beginning of the lockdown to do what she calls the “Noche de el vino”. She told us that she was doing this with her friends in Spain, that it was a way to relax together and share our feelings about life.

It’s true that when the lockdown started, we were all afraid of getting into a routine. Especially in a house with all the volunteers, we had to find activities to keep ourselves busy. Everyone offered game nights, movie nights or just parties. Sometimes we were just together in the living room, each one working on his computer and saying nothing. Or sometimes the tiredness of work would catch up with us and we would all laugh together. We also organized lunch all together on Sundays; “intercultural meals”. Some of them offered choreography, others yoga sessions. These were usually high-energy activities where everyone offered to show what they could do.

The “Noche de el vino” was totally different from the activities we were used to doing. We started to clean the living room, to light about twenty small candles on the table. Everyone was there, we turned off the lights and put on soft music. Andrea lit incense for the room. Everyone was relaxed.

Then Andrea started the evening. The goal is that everyone has to share a poem, a text, a song, the lyrics of a music, and in the language you want. We heard beautiful Greek, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese poems, Italian rap, Polish song, a Russian poem, a Portuguese video and I shared a French song. It was a real intercultural moment.

It was also an intense moment of emotions, tenderness and sharing. Each face was lit by candles and smiles. It was also a moment of stress, of fear because everyone’s eyes are turned towards you when you read the text. It is a moment of fragility with yourself where you open your heart and your mind to others, you find yourself vulnerable. And this is the strength of Andrea and the volunteers, that when you feel vulnerable and fragile, they welcome you with open arms in a warm and tender hug.

Written by Pauline Quentel, international volunteer at Action Art/ Εικαστική Δράση.