Josefine Marquardt, The lucky night of the katarraktisvillage!!


Σήμερα θα γνωρίσουμε άλλη μια κοπέλα που τρελάθηκε με την Χίο !!!
Η μικρή Josefine που κατά τύχη στις 2 μέρες που επισκέφτηκε τον Καταρράκτη τον Λάτρεψε και γενικά όλοι την Χίο!!
Ας δούμε λοιπόν τι μας είπε πριν λίγες μέρες που μιλήσαμε μαζί της!!


Well, before I am going to write about the wide range of experiences I made during my year on Chios Island, I want to take the chance and introduce myself briefly:
My name is Josefine, I just turned 20 and I have been studying Psychology at the Technical University of Dresden since last autumn. 

Generally, I can say that I am more than sure that this is exactly what I want to do, what I am interested in and what I can imagine to deal with for the next years of my life. And of course, I am more than glad that I can claim that.
 Unfortunately – or maybe luckily, I did not have that certainty right after school. Actually, exactly the opposite was the case: I felt a bit insecure, a bit lonely with those big decisions I had to make - and I could just make alone - about my next steps into this new independant stage of life. 

When I was brooding about suitable study directions for me, the best city to moove to, the right university to attend and I was just not able to choose, it came to my mind that maybe it was simply not the time yet  to make a choice.

 On the contrary, I came to the conclusion that it was perhaps even the perfect phase to do something completely different, a little bit more 


adventurous and practical. So this is why I applied for a European Voluntary Service for one year in scope of the Erasmus+ - programme.

Let´s be honest: I did not choose Chios at the first place (to my own defend, at this point I also did not know how fantastic this Island actually is). After sending more than 30 applications for projects all over Europe, getting 5 rejection-mails, doing 2 phone calls, receiving 23 times no answer at all and sending 20 more applications, I finally found that amazing non-profit project called “TES – 

Technology, Education, Sports” on Chios more or less by coincidence. You probably can imagine what followed. Namely, I tried my luck also there and to my own pleasant surprise I got taken.
On the Island, my working place was situated in the village of Vrontados, more in the North-East of Chios. There, I worked and lived together with four to six (varying over the year) other volunteers with many different nationalities. Through sharing all tasks, experiences, sorrows, rooms and travels we all grew together to sort of a multicultural EVS-family on that I always could rely on. It is a matter of course that we are 



all still in contact and meet each other from time to time although our journey ways are often really long.

Every morning, we volunteers went to the two local Primary schools where we offered our help and support. Together with the teachers we realized a couple of projects in the field of arts, sports, gardening, meteorology, baking, etc. We were also present in the normal lessons, showing the pupils some crafting tips, doing interactive games and taking care of them in breaks and excursions all around the Island. In the afternoon, we mainly organized computer activities and run our own Internet radio. In the summer time we painted the school´s yard together with the children, did some sportive exercises, danced and sang with the students as well.



 Through our cooperation with the locals and our pupils, we got to know the Greek mentality, lifestyle and culture. Working with the children was for me a unique experience that consisted of mutual taking and giving. Although, we actually had the role as assistant teachers our students as well taught us a lot about creativity, lightheartedness and their way of seeing the world. I was positively surprised about their openness and acceptance for us foreigners who did not even speak their language (at least in the beginning). I recognized quite fast that the open-minded behaviour of the children just reflected the welcoming hospitality off all Greeks. Here, back in Germany, I often miss people´s

“ Γεια σας!“ coming from the gardens, windows, benches and cars next to our way to school. I also miss the sun rising up over the blue Agean sea and shining reddish in our kitchen while breakfast and going down behind the mountains in the evening.


Of course, I spend most of my time in Greece in Vrontados, but I also visited Katarraktis sometimes. This special little, cute fishing village will always be connected with good memories for me. My first time there, we got invited from the locals to a typical Greek party. And although the people living there did not know me at all, they integrated me immediately and taught me traditional women´s dancing moves. We were doing circle dances, row dances and wild freestyle. Children were running cheering through the dancing crowd, older men were clapping the well-known rhythms and women were taking our hands and let us join the dance procession. I think for me this place is so unique, because it is exactly how I always imagined a Greek rural village: Small, colorful houses all along the shore, wooden fisher boats and nets swaying with the waves and a little harbour that was richly painted from children. I never felt that much part of the Greek culture as I did there. Very impressing for me was also the solidarity of the local community and their natural kindness.

All in all, I can say that I learned a lot during my EVS on Chios. What I really tried to acquire from the Greek mentality is their motto: “σιγά-σιγά“ (slowly, slowly) - the ability to live in the moment, solving problems with caution, not to worry too much about the future and to spot and enjoy little moments of happiness. Also, I was impressed by their impartiality towards the people who are not part of their culture.


I am sometimes missing Greece - especially Chios - and its inhabitants a lot and I even got a bit melancholic while writing this text. Therefore, we are all already planning to come back to that Island that became our home for one year very soon.





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