Another year is over, and this one was very interesting for Bystro. Full of changes, challenges, new people, interesting meetings, new activities and ideas, strengthening our relationships, hot and freezing evenings…
The biggest challenge was of course, leaving our old Bystro at the end of May, trying to find new appropriate space and making it feel like home. Those times were filled with uncertainty but we also realised how many people wanted to help us. Many organisations offered us to use their space during Bystro’s “homelessness” – for example Mareena where Board games night and Green Foundation took place; or KC Nové Mesto where our event called “Opravovačky” took place. Many new people appeared during the moving and changing our new space simply because they heard that we needed help – not only our friends and volunteers, but people who just liked the idea of Bystro. They attended our brigades, we painted and cleaned up together, we even made new pieces of furniture so that we could reopen our Bystro in August. And we did it! One August evening we met again and open the door of the new Bystro at Karpatska Street.
At the beginning of the year, we thought about the future of Bystro and its purpose. We, as members of Bystro, decided on key topics which we would like to support and present. We also started calling Bystro “community living room” because that is the way we are feeling there. The topics that we considered the most important are: ecology, repairing and upcycling, self-development and creating a community. Our activities in both old and new Bystro were and still are planned according to these topics.
Of course, in 2018 we organised lectures and discussions related to eco-topics, too. We talked about modern technologies in our lives, about trash and how can we produces less of it, and in the second half of the year we organised climate change classes. We learned about many depressive facts about what was, is and will be happening in the future, what the causes of climate change are and what the solutions are.
Robo Jankovich told us about lives in communities and how to create a healthy functioning community. We also organised an exchange of scions where you could get very rare kinds of apple and pear trees.
Within movie evenings we watched Nine Islands – a movie that introduces the topics of materialism and overconsumption via surfing and the beauty of nature.
In May, while we were “homeless”, we organised a nonviolent action called “First plastic attack” by which we wanted to point at how much unnecessary plastic packaging we have to carry home after each shopping. We bought groceries, unpacked them and returned the packaging to the shop. You can read more about it in this Denník N article.
When the new Bystro was open, we started organising clothing SWAPs where you could get new clothes in an ecological way, learn new information about zero waste living with Petra Slezáková and taste Christmas beverages in winter time. By the end of the year, we shared some eco-tips with Nikola Tokárová how to make things at home without going crazy.
DIY, upcycling and creative workshops
DIY and different creative workshops are definitely part of our Bystro. We are trying to teach people how to repair their stuff instead of buying new. We created a creative corner for this purpose and everyone could visit it and use all the necessary tools.
An event called “Opravovačky” took place many times that year. At that event, we provided our space, tools and useful advice on how to repair many different things from computers to phones, automobiles etc. You could come to repair your bicycle every second Sunday when vegan dinners took place.
In collaboration with Latvian organisation Radi Vidi Pats, we organised creative bike workshop. Many interested pieces were created from old bicycles, some of them even bizarre and impossible to be overlooked.
We brought many old things to life again – thanks to upcycling – we reused old CDs, umbrellas, clothes, curtains… We also organised workshops with Footour where you could make wallets, produce bags or even artwork. Petja led a special workshop where people made earrings from old pieces of leather. Many times we travelled back in the past and learned how to sew, knit or crochet.
Library of things remained a special part of Bystro. You can borrow many things that you do not necessarily have to own – sport gear, drills, tools, kitchen utensils and many more.
Self-development, socialisation and creating a community
Bystro tries to provide a space for self-development and better understanding of your own self. In spring, a small workshop called Conflict as a chance took place. It introduced methods of nonviolent communication and allowed us to reflect our reactions within conflicts. Meditation and yoga also became a part of Bystro’s events.
We also organised some polyamory meeting for those who are interested in non-monogamous living.
In collaboration with organisation Free Riga, we organised a workshop called “Sleeping places” – we visited different abandoned places in Bratislava.
BLEMs (Bratislava Language Exchange Meetings) also took place regularly – they connected people from different countries and provided space for learning new languages.
You could also eat for free every Tuesday and Thursday and let’s be honest – it was one of your favorite parts of Bystro 🙂
Last but not least, many awesome musicians visited Bystro and created unique feelings. We would like to see our favorite ones again, for example Šarivary, Vejan or Dudli band – all of them played many concerts in Bystro. N3O, Windshield, George Jones, ФЪ and many more, they all set the ball rolling and attracted new visitors.
Many evenings in Bystro included nice discussions, playing board games, drinking good beer and wine, herbal tea and eating vegetarian or vegan meals. We organised the first overnight in Bystro – the day when you did not have to leave. We also left Bystro to go for trips to see our beautiful nature. We said goodbye to this year at New Year’s Eve party and spent the winter months with red noses and wearing knitted sweaters while looking like our grandmas.
Despite many troubles, this year was full of peace, new ideas, amazing people, positive energy and inspiration. Thank you so much to all of you who helped us and to the volunteers – without you, Bystro would not exist 🙂