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On the 29th of December there was a celebration in Moria for the festive season. The celebration took place in the protected inner area and Starfish was invited to attend and help with the festivities.

There are three sections in the protected area.

Section A – Families and a few unaccompanied minors (over 270)

Section B – Unaccompanied minors (mainly in B but some in A, 330 children)

Section C – Single women (over 260)

There is the outer area in Moira with in the camp fence and then there is the Olive grove which is outside the camp


We were a team of five. Theo, Lindsey, Kimon, Rhea and me.

3 of the Starfish team started helping in section A by wrapping up presents and blowing up balloons.


Theo and I decided to start the process of distributing the 31 baby strollers that we had purchased with the donation of Angalia from Kalloni (We did not buy the cheapest as these break easily but brought the good sturdy ones at a cost of 55 euro each).


Theo stood by the van we arrived in, whilst I went into section A with Despina (who is in charge of this area).  We visited all the rooms and the tents situated in the centre of the compound.  They try to accommodate so many people that each room was filled to the brim with mothers with babies, fathers and so many children. We noticed that they have put up blankets that rope off little sections for some sort of make shift privacy. We called out before opening each one up so that they would feel that we were not invading their space.  We wanted to see if they had babies. It was shocking to see that most of the people are sleeping on the floor. They also have no protection against things being stolen if they leave their area.

The tents are sectioned into four tiny areas with two openings on one side and two on the other side.   Again, no privacy or protection.


So now the difficult task of choosing which families to give the strollers to. We of course chose the families with the biggest need, which we felt were the ones with the smallest babies and the single parent families. Whilst we were going through the camp, we saw a father with the cutest little girl whose mother had been killed. She started following us and wanted to be picked up and cuddled.

We gave one push chair per family even if they had more children. We made a few families smile.

With some pushchairs left over we then moved to section C and the single women. There were two women who had recently given birth. They all have bunk beds and at first glance there seemed to be eight or more in one room. The two mothers had their new-born babies lying next to them on the bunk bed. They were very happy to receive the strollers as these are ones that can be laid flat for new-born.


Now was to find some babies in the outer area of Moria to give the last of our strollers. These are people who should be in the protected area but are not because there just is no room.

We went from tent to tent and found so many babies but by now everyone in the camp had found out that we were giving out strollers and people started to come and crowd at the gate behind the van. The crowd grew larger and larger and with only 5 strollers left it was so hard to choose who needed them most so I gave them to whomever was closest to the front. I tried to explain that I will bring more in the New Year but with the language barrier, I don’t think anyone understood. For hours after that, women and families would come and find me with their babies in their arms and ask me for a stroller.  I kept apologising and trying to explain that they had finished. One very pregnant women with a three year old who looked like she would cry returned three times to ask for a stroller. It was heart breaking to watch and even more heart breaking to have to tell these people that we didn’t have any more strollers.


In the meantime the rest of the Starfish team continued to help out in Section A.

Lovely big chocolates where given out to all sections (Thank you EO metterdaad and Angalia for donating the money to Starfish). Over 800 balloons brought laughter and games to the children of Moria, but also to the adults. Rhea my teenager had a great time playing with some of the unaccompanied minors with the balloons. Even though these children have been through more than anyone can

IMG_1149imagine, they still find it in themselves to keep smiling and sometimes even laughing. They are still kids who just simply want to play! With music blasting and Father Christmas going into each section, it seemed as if their troubles had gone, if only for a few minutes. We loved the way so many people even started to dance.


When we finished, there was a box of chocolates left so Theo and I decided to take them into the outer section. We were surrounded within seconds and I was afraid for Theo as

IMG_1157people were pushing and grabbing out of desperation. We understand that this is how they have learnt to survive and sad to see that it was only for a chocolate.


After we left, we all felt a happy glow but were exhausted. Some of us even fell asleep in the car on the way home to our reality. Getting out of my warm bed this morning after it rained all night, it suddenly hit home that the people we visited the day before are still stuck in that overcrowded, wet, and cold camp with no prospects of their nightmare ending any time soon and no warm bed to climb out of.






You Need A Holiday!

4 reasons why you must take a holiday in Greece this year

Come to Lesvos, the island once visited is never forgotten 

Why A Holiday!

1. Stress reduction.

A study released last year by the American Psychological Association concluded that vacations work to reduce stress by removing people from the activities and environments that they associate with stress and anxiety. Similarly, a Canadian study of nearly 900 lawyers found that taking vacations helps alleviate job stress. These effects last beyond the duration of the vacation: A small study from the University of Vienna found that after taking time off from work, vacationers had fewer stress-related physical complaints such as headaches, backaches, and heart irregularities, and they still felt better even five weeks later.

purple flowers

Means spending quality time with people you care about 

2. Inspiration.

During a break from work is when people come up with their best ideas. Los Angeles psychologist Robert Butterworth, told ABC “The break will allow you to refresh your brain cells”. The author of How To Succeed In Business Without Working So Damn Hard, Robert Kriegel says that many workers get their best ideas away from work. The new settings and free mind gives people more perspective when dealing with problems.0fae820c-4e25-49fc-93c8-605afa429dbeVacation 

Means laying back and relaxing 

3. Improved productivity.

In our perpetual rush to be productive, we often undermine our very ability to consistently perform at peak levels. Getting more done in less time allows us to get ahead and be more productive, but it takes consistent focus to be truly productive. Ernst & Young, a professional services firm, conducted an internal study of its employees and found that for each additional 10 hours of vacation time employees took, their year-end performance ratings improved by 8 percent. Another study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group, found that high-level professionals who were required to take time off were significantly more productive overall than those who spent more time working.


Means experiencing new things 

4. Better sleep.

Restless nights and disrupted sleep are common complaints –often stemming from the fact that we simply have too much on our minds. A lack of sleep leads to less focus, less alertness, impaired memory and a decreased quality of life. Researchers say, that vacations can help interrupt the habits that disrupt sleep, like working late into the night or watching a back-lit screen before bed. If you have stress from work and you find your sleep is disrupted because of anxiety or tension, take some time off and reset your sleep pattern.


Taking a vacation will create fond memories 

So now you have an excuse to book your next holiday to Lesvos 




Michaelis. Farewell!

19466371_1345544492188010_6377732951176990106_oYamas, Michaelis
I am sure they have ouzo
in heaven
although I am not sure
if there are donkeys or any horses
grazing above the clouds
You embraced life as a free man
loving donkeys, horses and women
You were always full of crazy stories
to celebrate life and friendship
while your Greek heart
could not beat without music
and dancing
as long as something was in the glass
and the table surrounded by company
You kept on smiling
whenever crisis or human disaster struck
you would fill a glass
raise it to heaven and challenge the gods
in order to drink to a happy life
you thought that lasted forever
and then you danced the night away
Your donkeys known by the entire village
in the winter finding their food in mountains and emptying my garden
in the summer carrying the weight of tourists
while you taught them how to live as a Greek,
enjoy sun, water, food and Ambrosia
I am sure you took everything
life offered you
and now it is time
to give back that free life you lived
to rest in heaven
where you probably will raise your glass once more:
Yamas, Michaelis!
This was written by Julie smit and i feel she has pictured Michalis  life  and you can follow her posts

Greek Christmas Traditions

240_f_126815005_rcnrnilercfm699p24ntaakhjcajoje6Greece has many lovely and unique Christmas traditions, and the holiday here is not yet quite as commercialized as you will see elsewhere. During the day on Christmas Eve, children go from house to house singing kalanda (Greek carols) and playing the trigono (triangle), for which they are rewarded with sweets and pocket money.

Families are known to keep a fire burning in the hearth to keep away the Kilikantzari, our very mischievous Christmas elves/goblins that enter houses during this season through unlit fireplaces and play tricks upon the family.green_christmas_ball_png_clipart-23

Although many Greek families now celebrate with a Christmas tree, the tradition still remains to decorate a boat with lights, as St. Nicholas is the saint of sailors and fishermen.

Most families have a lunch of roast pig and christopsomo (Christ bread), a sweet bread decorated with a cross. Christmas gifts are exchanged after midnight on the 31st of December, once St. Basil (Father Christmas) has entered your house and broken a pomegranate with a stone.

In our Molyvos home, Christmas is a time for celebration, family time and enjoyment of the off-season quiet that wraps the village like a blanket. These are the weeks when we restore ourselves, reunite with friends and begin to look forward to what the New Year will bring.

In 2017, we encourage you to spend your holidays in the breathtaking village of Molyvos, Lesvos, and enjoy for yourselves our famous traditions. Our lovely, thoughtfully appointed properties offer comfort and luxury, catering to friends and visitors in all seasons—though summer is most special when everything is blooming, the water beckons and the The Captain’s Table offers the best tastes of the island


Do visit and come see us soon!

Christos Anisis (Merry Christmas in Greek)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

with gratitude from

Melinda and Theo

Liz Stolls

Liz Stolls

 moved to this idyllic Greek island of Lesvos to marry a Greek farmer. Some say I was brave, some say foolhardy. We started a successful horse and donkey trekking business, built a house, had two daughters – but split up after 12 years. I’m still living here and in Berlin, writing and teaching English. My history: IN GREECE: Published various EFL textbooks, articles (shortlisted for the Independent on Sunday/Bradt Travel Writing Award 2004) Written tourism publicity copy.Created and managed tourist excursion business. Published writing textbook “Options” New Editions, Athens, reprinted 2009. IN UK: Press & Publicity Manager, Sadler’s Wells Theatre, responsible for all media liaison and publicity campaigns. Freelance publicist for various companies incl: Not the RSC, Extemporary Dance,UK Foundation for Dance, etc. Co-organised training seminar for touring company publicists for the Arts Council of Great Britain. Wrote reviews for Performance magazine. Journalist- news reporting and features for the London Eve News/Standard and Reading Evening Post.


A unique individual with a kind soul who was much loved by many.Georgios

Born in 1946 and raised in a traditional Greek household on Lesvos in the small village of Molyvos.  In his early years, Giorgos was significantly influenced by his Communist uncle (Gianni), who operated within the Greek resistance movement. Uncle Gianni was a lovely and extremely forward thinking man who fought strongly for his ideology. Unfortunately, his strong beliefs led uncle Gianni to get arrested and be confined to a tiny cell for many years.  The amount of torture he endured and the pour conditions he was left to live in, meant that upon his release he was no longer able to stand and confined to a wheelchair.  Subsequently at the end of the civil war, he was exiled to Russia.

In those days

In those days

This influence meant that Giorgo did not conform to the normal village way of thinking.  In 1968 Giorgos met Jenifer, our mother. A single woman from Australia, with two children from a previous marriage, 9 years his senior and who did not speak a word of Greek. Recounting the way our mother tells the story, it goes something like this:

Photos in the harbour house

Photos in the harbour house

Whilst on holiday in the small fishing village visiting my aunt and uncle, Norma and Percy who had relocated there from Australia, I went out to a “taverna” one night. In those days it was custom to have live music playing with bouzoukia and people would always get up and dance. At one point I looked over and I saw this man dancing “zeimbekiko”. I hadn’t spoken to him or seen him before but that was it for me. I fell in love with him the second I saw him dance. He was an amazing dancer”.

Dancing at Theo's 50th birthday party

Dancing at Theo’s 50th birthday party

Another night, with neither of them speaking each other’s language, our mother pulled Giorgos from the tavern to show him her two sleeping children.  Later, he took her to a room above the old gold shop in the village, and on his old wind up gramophone he played her a Harry Nilsson record. And so the romance began.  Speaking to them about this time in their lives, neither of them at this stage thought that they would end up getting married, having three children and living the rest of their lives together!

Dancing together on Jenifers 70th birthday party. He even sang to her.

Dancing together on Jenifers 70th birthday party. He even sang to her on that night in front of us all

When Jenifer returned to London, Giorgos set about teaching himself English, from a dictionary.  Jenifer made several return trips to Molivos where Giorgos would take her and her two children out on a small rowing boat and would sing to them.  He loved signing and had a beautiful, gentle voice and he would sing to us all the time. During sleepless nights you would often hear him singing and humming to himself

Giorgos made the easy decision to follow her to London one winter. One cold rainy morning, whilst Jenifer was waiting for the train to get to work, her legs turning to ice, she made the huge decision to leave everything behind and to move to Greece to live with our father.  She packed up her things and with two daughters, her mother and father in toe, Jenifer moved to Greece.

He loved to mushroom and after gathered them  they would cooking them. something they enjoyed

He loved to mushroom and after gathering them they would cooking them. Something they enjoyed

Giorgos and Jenifer married in 1972. The fact that he chose to marry a foreigner in those days with two children who was older than he is a testament to the way my father was.  He did not care that his parents disapproved of his choice; their marriage took place in Athens with their first born (Anastasia) by their side. It took over five years before his family started to speak with Jenifer.

Always with his cheeky grin

Always with his cheeky grin

Giorgos worked as a fisherman since he was a boy.  His father, as his father before that, owned fishing boats and he was taken out fishing with them from as early as he could remember. According to our aunt, Giorgos use to try and hide from his father in order to get out of going fishing, but they always found him and dragged him along. He adamantly denied ever being sea-sick, despite our aunts insistence that this was the main reason, but he would always have a cheeky grin on his face whenever we teased him about it.

Cheeky grin with his friend Angelos

Cheeky grin with his friend Angelos

Later on in life the family boat was handed down to him, which he captained for years. It was always remarked on by the local fishermen about what an amazing fisherman he was as he found fishing spots that people still want to get their hands on.



In 1982 Giorgos was approached by the United Nations.  He moved to Zanzibar in Africa to teach the Mediterranean fishing practice to the local people. He spent two years there.  Obviously the whole family went with him, taking everything including the kitchen sink (in fact, this is no joke; we still have photographs of the aforementioned sink that we took with us)

On one of his trips which he loved to do with Anastasia

On one of his trips which he loved to do with Anastasia

Returning to Molyvos, Giorgos continued his life as a fisherman until retirement.

Sadly Giorgos fell ill on the 12th December 2014, and was taken to the intensive care dept of Mytilene hospital. He was suffering with problems with his lungs, and after five weeks of fighting passed away on the 18th January 2015.

who has the most cheeky grin

who has the most cheeky grin

It is hard to write about our father and be able to convey in a few paragraphs about his life, his character, which was what made him the amazing person he was. He was an extremely intelligent, funny, generous, wonderful man with a cheeky smile that we will miss forever.

with Nadia enjoying a lovely meal

with Nadia enjoying a lovely meal

His unique character is evident in his last wishes; to be cremated, without fuss, and for his ashes to be scattered from a boat, into the waters of the Aegean, whilst ABBA’s classis tunes play loudly across the water!

His favourite cat , bully

His favourite cat , bully

Giorgos will be missed from all our lives, forever.

Sitting in Avlaki having his  tsipouro

Sitting in Avlaki having his tsipouro

WHICH MAGAZINE -Travel section – January 2015

Lesbos and Chios teem with natural delights, from picturesque waterfalls and sultry hot springs to forests fossilised by volcanic ash 20 million years ago. Pack your shorts for a warm spring holiday away from the tourist hordes on these two Greek islands that lie near Turkey in the north-east Aegean Sea. Wing it to Lesbos, known as Mytilíni by locals, which is a favourite spring.


All data based on Lesbos a Data from Hellenic National Meteorological Service b Data based on Molyvos resting spot on the avian migration route. In particular, Lake Metochi, the Tsiknias River and the Kalloni saltpans attract the likes of bee-eaters, olive-tree warblers, black-headed buntings and black storks. Don’t forget your boots: hundreds of miles of walking trails criss-cross Lesbos, one of Greece’s largest islands. A hike may lead through pine forests and meadows of wild orchids. Soothe your aching legs with a soak at one of the island’s hot springs – those at Eftalou in the north are on the beach. Stay at the nearby medieval town of Molyvos where red-stone houses cascade below a 14th-century castle down to a harbour and pebbly beach. Take a ferry from Lesbos to Chios to see a spectacular firework rocket war between two churches. This centuries-old battle takes place on the Saturday of Greek Orthodox Easter – a week after our own Easter – at the town of Vrontados. Stay at nearby Chios Town and don’t miss the superb Byzantine mosaics at the Unesco World Heritage site of Nea Moni, an 11th-century monastery.

Need to know

Ferries link Lesbos with other islands,

such as Chios and Limnos, but

services may be twice-weekly in April.

How to do it

The only non-stop flights in April are with Thomas Cook from Gatwick to Lesbos on Saturdays (from 18 April). A week’s package in the resort of Skala Kallonis – near the Kalloni saltpans – costs from around £400pp. Limosa, a specialist in birding holidays, has an eight-day tour of Lesbos in late April 2015 for £1,695pp, including flights.

More info: Rough Guide to the Greek islands.