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CHRISTMAS IN MORIA CAMP ON LESVOS

 

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

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

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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
Vacation 

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.

bbb4af57-083d-4e8e-b22e-884aaa9f9e11Vacation

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.

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Taking a vacation will create fond memories 

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

LesvosHolidayHouses

 

 

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 http://smitaki.blogspot.gr

Ship wreck in Molyvos

 

ship wreck 1

ship wreck 1

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Late December a fishing boat when off course and hit rocks on the second bay of Molyvos before the harbour.

 

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Nobody was hurt and the boat was completely destroyed. The captain and crew swam to shore.
The crew lost all their belonging 2014-12-28 15.24.56

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.

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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.

Greek Traditions For New Years On Lesvos

Father Christmas in Greece, known as Agios Vassilis (Saint Basil/ Basillis/ Bill), comes with  the arrival of the New Year, bearing gifts.

It is tradition for the first visitor who comes to your home after the clock chimes 12.00  to knock on your door and when you open the door to him he will have a big stone with him, a jug of water and a pomegranate. He places the stone on the floor, pours the water over it and then breaks the pomegranate. This ritual is one to bring good luck to your home for the year ahead. Whilst he is performing the ritual he is also chanting words similar to these: “As heavy as this stone is, may your pockets be from abundance of money….As this water pours, may the happiness and laughter pour into your home….. As the same way the pomegranate seeds spread across your floor may the joy and heath spread across your home.

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wishes for 2015

 

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING COURSE IN MOLYVOS

Molyvos tourist association

 http://www.theotheraegean.com organised a seminar called Social Media Marketing.  Of which they also contributed to the cost.

social media marketing

It was a two day course of which over 50 people with different businesses from Lesvos took.

We were captivated

We were captivated

It was a very enjoyable experience. We all learnt many things which should be a great help in our being able to introduce Molyvos and Lesvos to the world.

Our speaker was Panos Kazanelis, who kept our interest and made the event fun. With lot of humour and laughter helped keep our attention for the many hours that was needed to complete this course.

http://www.about.me/panoskazanelis

 

The seminar was held in the Delfinia hotel and Andonis and crew looked after us very well serving us with coffee and delicious biscuits when we needed a break