Some experience of the volunteers, who stayed at Hostel Elisson between October - December 2020.
We are 4 volunteers from 3 countries: Luxembourg, Slovakia and Germany, aged between 20 and 30 years. Two of us arrived in October for a 3 months stage (long term) and the other two arrived one month later, in November, for a 2 months stage (short term).
We are hosted in a Hostel (Elisson Hostel). There we cook our own food and take care of the place, spend time and have fun together, and sometimes even meet with the locals. A typical day for us starts around 8 o’clock, when we start getting ready for work. We arrive in the office at 9am and stay until 2 pm. After work, we go back to the hostel to prepare lunch, then have a little siesta. In the afternoon, we like to spend quality time together, play cards, watch movies, listen to / play music (one of us plays piano, another violin and a third one plays bass!), go for short walks or have interesting conversations. We start cooking dinner around 7pm and then relax for the rest of the evening.
Our volunteering program is centered around the topic of Environmental Footpaths and digitalization of the village archive. The project activities take place in Kryoneri Corinthia (Greece), a village of about 1000 inhabitants, located at 700 meters altitude, in a semi-mountainous area. The nearest town is Kiato, 16 km away.
Kryoneri is a very active village, with many things to offer, such as: Karate and Fitness classes, Folklore dances and many more. The hotspot for young people is the Youth Center, where we work. The Centre is located in a two storey building, with four offices, a library and a self service open cafe bar with television. The offices are shared by the President of the village, the youth associations and the local cooperatives. They also share the responsibility of keeping the place clean and in good condition. Sometimes, the Center is visited by older villagers as well, who come here to chill, watch TV or enjoy some good conversations.
What we do:
Our work consists of three different parts. First, we assist the local authorities to create a digital archive with all the registries and documents, (some are more than 100 years old!). The oldest book we scanned was from the year 1914.
Another important task is to create content for the website of the village (Matsani.gr) and help promote it through social media. One particular assignment was to explore, measure and promote the environmental footpaths of the village, and upload this information on the website, in order to attract tourists in the future. Kryoneri is located in a hilly area, at 700 meters altitude, thus offering a spectacular view of both the Gulf of Corinth and the Mountains. Also, each hiking trail has a history of its own and many stories are still vivid in the memory of the villagers.
The website also includes information about the activities and amenities that can be found in the village, such as: restaurants, shops, cultural centers, local NGOs, schools, local economy, etc. Part of our work was to translate Greek texts into English, write content and upload photos in the website’s galleries. Also, during our stay here, we have curated and improved Filoxenia’s website (filox.org), creating content, translating articles and organising the information in categories.
Our third task consisted of outdoor activities, such as gardening, opening new hiking routes and exploring the area via mountain-biking.
We enjoy our activities very much and we have accommodated very fast with the local community. In spite of the lock down due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we have used this time to explore the surrounding areas in the village and environmental hiking paths. We highly recommend Kryoneri to future volunteers, as well as tourists!
Source: Filoxenia (2020): Volunteering long term project "Act Green!" (OCT-DEC 2020). Online: https://www.facebook.com/filoxenia.ngo/posts/3615020171919926