Archive for the ‘People’ Category

Yesterday I was on the beach and we were lying close to the jetty there. This particular jetty is in the corner of the beach and there is a lot of space/sea in front of it. Most swimmers use the middle and the left side of the beach. Not a lot of boats moor near the jetty so what happens there daily? Young and old(er) people jump, dive, glide of that jetty. It starts with a few people and as they show off their abilities others come and join them. Not everybody is experienced so we watched a young lady who tried to dive off the jetty for about an hour and in the end, cheered on by everybody she managed to dive off the jetty a couple of times without hurting herself. Others form a group and jump of together, every time the jumps are more outrageous. Some people even who do a flip backwards or forwards. The “showing off”goes on and on. It is fantastic to see. Nothing more than the ramp is needed. Especially the young people seem to bond together without a problem, the common determinator is the jetty. Language boundaries fall away, age is not important, how you jump or dive is not important. Parents came up several times and begged the children to stop because it was time to go home. Maybe this type of entertainment should be provided to teens and adults who are addicted to their mobile telephone. A week here and you are cured!

copyright photo’s skopelosnews.wordpress.com

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Somebody loves Maria

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His last fight

(photo source unknown)

Mr. Yorgos Kosmas was a fighter. He fought for his family, his business, for what he thought was rightfully his. When he could not exploit his business on Glysteri beach anymore he moved to the old harbor of Skopelos and set up Kyratso’s kitchen succesfully there. In this restaurant the whole family, three generations live and work and share the good and the bad. Yesterday Mastor Giorgi (he was called by many people) fought his last battle when on his way home his car got out of control and he got killed. We want to offer our sincere condolences to his wife, his children, his grand children and the rest of his family. The funeral will be today at 12.30 hours in the Agios Jannis/Tries Hierarches church close to Milos square.

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This is Vangelis and I have known him as long as I live on this island. Vangelis is a man of all trades but he is often hired to bring building materials to houses in places where no cars/trucks can come and to take rubble from the houses that are built and renovated. The materials are picked up by the horses/mules he owns. In the old days everything was transported via these beautiful, hardworking animals.

What can I say about Vangelis? He has a hard life trying to find work in a time where the economic crises almost wiped out the building trade on Skopelos. Lately the economic situation is picking up and more people dare to renovate or built properties and Vangelis has work. To find a steady job is pretty difficult because the last five years, during the economic crises, the Greek government allowed one person to be hired when five persons retired or stopped working for the government.

Fortunately the Greek government, now, also allows people to have jobs that last for eight months, in villages and cities. Cleaning jobs, waste management, forestry clearing jobs and clerical jobs at town halls and citizen’s help offices and other governmental organizations.

Vangelis has found an eight month job at the forestry office. He is trimming trees, cleaning up land and paths After these eight months he is jobless again for a while until he can apply again for these kind of jobs. Until he finds this kind of job again he roams around the village with his horses and quietly makes sure that all the rubble and building materials reach their destination.

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Maria, my landlord of my office in town, happened to be the first person who called me after I arrived on the island again a couple of days ago. I was off the island for personal reasons and she asked me how I was.

Maria takes care of the saint Michael church in town, she cleans, she makes it ready for sermons and is a key holder and when I told her I would be away and that a certain day in the week ahead would be important for me she said:”I will light all the candles in the church and all will go well” Whether I believe or not it doesn’t make a difference. Her genuine concern and that act made all the difference in how I felt during my absence and how I feel now.

Maybe I am a late learner but the real concern of one human being towards another human being is what life is about. Thankfully I have many people like that around me and I want to thank them.

These people are really listening when you have a conversation with each other so you and they detect where help is needed and in what way, if necessary. It has nothing to do with power or money and what you can do with that. No the real deal is the concern for that other person or persons. Maria is the personification of all those people and I am thankful she and all the others are in my life.

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A couple of weeks I was visiting a neighbourhood in Skopelos town for an errand and when I could not find the person I needed I decided to wait and say hello to a lady ( Mrs. E) who I know from the flower decoration evening in the church at Easter.

When I knocked on her door Mrs. E invited me in and when I came into the tiny living room I saw an elderly lady on the couch, eating her porridge (Quaker) She acknowledged me but was silent. I started talking with Mrs. E and she told me that the woman on the couch is her mother. She is 93. She is ok healthwise but needs to take a lot of medicines and cannot be left alone because she walks with great difficulty and can fall. So they spend almost 24 hours a day with each other. There is no money for another carer but fortunately her two children help out when it is needed.

When the porridge was eaten I asked the elderly lady if she liked the television programmes on tv and if they keep her company and she said:”no I don’t really watch television, I read…” I then asked her what she was reading at the moment and her daughter picked up a book from a small pile. It was the diary of Anne Frank… How wrong about people and their lives can you be if you don’t know about their past!

I told the elderly lady I am a librarian and that I love reading too. When I saw that she had double folded her page to know where she stopped reading I immediately thought about all the book markers I have at home and I told her I would bring her one. I have an embroidered one with spring flowers and this one I brought (washed and ironed) to her yesterday. When I gave it to her she said nothing but her fierce eyes were thanking me. I am so happy that from this unexpected visit so much joy came and the friendship and understanding with this Greek family has another layer of memories.

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Walking down the ring road for an errand I saw this woman looking at the elementary school playground. I know her and asked if she was looking for somebody. She said:” my eldest grandchild has just started in the elementary school and I miss her” So S. goes to the school to see her when she plays in the playground.

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