The spanish girl at katarraktis!

My life in Katarraktis...Η μικρή Ισπανίδα που πέρασε από την Χίο και τον Καταρράκτη, εργάστηκε στην Ινδία, γύρισε στην Ισπανία, άνοιξε την καρδιά της και μας είπε τις εμπειρίες της !!

When I first started my adventure in Chios Island I was 23 years old, it was the year 2014 and my first home there was located in Vrontados, a village near to Chios City. I ended up in Chios Island with an European Voluntary Service program of one year, but my experience was good so I decided to stay another 10 months so when I left Chios past December I was 25.

  I was born in a little city in the South of Spain called Alcalá la Real (Jaén, Andalucía), I lived there until I turned 18 and I moved away for starting my university in Madrid. Before going to Greece I was studying for five years in Spain and Italy my degree with a major in Advertisement and Public Relations and after I finished it and I worked for some months in the communication business for me it was necessary to go somewhere for doing a social program that will give me practical experience and more life skills.

After more or less one year and a half living in Vrontados I moved to Katarraktis to continue helping the rest of the European Volunteers there and keep improving the project that some of my colleagues started around May 2015. It was the month of August and I immediately fell in love with this little village.

It is a small town but it has amazing surroundings, the sea is beautiful

but the most important thing is its people. They all accepted us so quickly treating us as part of their own families and the children were really nice to work and play with. We were doing summer activities with the children and they were always full of energy with their big smiles so it was a pleasure to spend the summer days with the Katarraktis children! The Greek children are really open with new people and compare to the Spanish children they are very good in English!
Soon I was enjoying all the amazing food 
options that the village offered me and I will have long walks next to the sea during the summer nights.

Also I spent my birthday day there and it happens that exactly the same night took place a Greek party and we all danced and jumped having a great time together with the rest of the village inhabitants.

The rest of the summer, me, the rest of the volunteers, the tourists and the people of the village enjoy the beautiful sea swimming and relaxing under the sun.

After summer the school year started again and the collaboration with the Katarraktis Primary School and Kindergarten was a reality!  Some of the volunteers were also helping in Nenita Kindergarten and Primary School.  All of this was really exciting for us, we were starting from scratch a project but still we maintained the project running in Vrontados.
When Autumn and Winter came the village got calmer but it was also really nice to keep spending time with the people of the village and enjoying the good weather that we had, I was able to keep swimming almost until November! Also the people invited us to their houses for coffee and they told us stories about Katarraktis, their childhood and how they all love living in Katarraktis like in a big family.

During all the time I lived in Katarraktis also the refugees’ crisis was happening and it was in these moments how people really are, then I saw how good, open-minded and kind were the people from Katarraktis and the near villages.

 The neighbours together with the local leaders organized groups to help the refugees when they arrived, giving them dry clothes, warm drinks, a shelter and kind words. All the people were using their free time (most of the times in really late hours) to help this people out.

 They would take their own cars to look over the shore and see if there were any refugees’ boats or people lost. We tried to help as well since we felt part of the village and in these hard and difficult times I got to know even better the amazing people from Katarraktis.

My thoughts are with all the Katarraktis’ people, how well they treated all of us and I hope to see them all again very soon, also I miss the children of the village (and Chios Island in general) who I work with and I had a great time. All the people I met in Greece and Chios Island taught me something and changed my life perspective, partly because of my participation in this program 
 I had decided to move to India and worked for an NGO for six months.
PS: Also I need to give some words to all the restaurants and taverns in the village. I tried all of them and I love the food everywhere! If you were not in Katarraktis, Vrontados or Chios Island yet it is time to pay a visit! I am already planning my next trip to this island and its villages that during almost two years was my home.

Mercedes Milán


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