submitted by James Victor Prineas on 06.09.2008
Dear Friends of Kythera,
after 10 wonderful weeks on Kythera, we are back in Berlin and missing the island very much - my son's continue to run about here calling out "pame yia banyio " (let's go for a swim!) in Greek. They enjoyed the attention of their two wonderful teachers whose playful teaching techniques are a hard act to follow. And we all loved the endless adventures the island had on offer - swimming from Kalathi to Komponatha; walking around the coast from Diakofti to Avlemonas; skirting all the way around the Castro in Hora; taking the path from Tryfillianika to Paliochora; trekking from Mylopotamos down the river-bed past the countless mills all the way to the sea at Kalami.... the island is an endless trove of expeditions for any family. Most of all we miss the old and new friends on the island - some who live there all year round, and some who were just visiting. We hope to return for another long stay - perhaps for a whole year - in 2010. If any of you are contemplating a similar "sabbatical", then perhaps we could co-ordinate our stays - let me know!
We have a new writer on our "staff" of volunteers. "Maria from Lourandianika" has sent me wonderful stories and memories from her life on and off the island. Unfortunately many of her experiences are tragic - indeed she is suffering from various genetic diseases derived from the not uncommon Kytherian occurrence of marriage between cousins. With Maria's help we hope to do a survey amongst Kytherians regarding this practice and the results upon the health of those of Kytherian descent. Once a taboo subject, information of this kind will help many of those suffering and their families to understand their conditions better. If any of you have done research, and/or are from the medical profession and are interested in helping us put together a questionnaire, please contact me at the email address below.
From her sick bed Maria hopes, with the help of the internet and email which she has just begun to use, to see her beloved village again. I'm sure you'll enjoy her first article below.
The Wind-Farm saga continues.
For those who have missed previous newsletters and know little or nothing of what is planned for the island (160 MW - at least 80 turbines - of huge wind-towers around the centre of the island, between Logothetianika and the mountain above Milopotamos), you can read up in the Windfarm Debate section of our site. Or just use these links:
Windfarm Debate: http://www.kythera-family.net/index.php?nav=211
Photo Simulations: http://www.kythera-family.net/index.php?nav=211-212
I'm in regular contact with the mayor, who also believes that the current proposals would be a disaster for the island. He promised to send a letter this week to the Greek electricity commission to voice his opposition. His assistant will fax me a copy of the letter as soon as it goes out and I will post it in the "Documents" area of the Wind-Farm section.
Before I left the island I also interviewed the Deputy Mayor of Kythera, Michali Protopsalti Makras. He said he agreed with the Mayor's position on many points, but that the economic situation of the island must be taken into consideration. We've translated the interview into English and it is on the site here:
What doesn't come over in the interview - and I must take full responsibility as the interviewer - is Mr. Makras' potential conflict of interest. His private company is the major supplier of cement and building equipment on the island, and thus could be the person most likely to benefit as a result of any wind-tower construction. The base block of each tower requires hundreds of tons of cement, and massive new roads would have to be built on the island to allow the mammoth tower and rotor pieces to be moved to their positions.
Below you'll also find an article by retired NSW Board of Electricity engineer Constantine Protopsaltis with his views on the subject of wind-farms on Kythera. Another good read.
Best regards from a quiet night in Berlin,
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Maria from Louradianika's first Article
I have been searching for Louradianika. My Grandfather, The Reverend Emmanuel Lourantos, founded this village, and built his home there, and another 6 homes were built, and were occupied by members of the Lourantos Family. In all, the village consisted of 7 houses, and is situated near The Church of Agio Georgi. I spent many happy times there, when as a young girl of 15, my parents returned to Kythera. There were 2 children of the marriage, my sister Kyriakoula and myself. My grandfather was an extraordinary man, and when we returned to Louradianika to spend several weeks there,they were the happiest days of my young life. It is the next village down from Kato Livadi, which was my fathers home and birthplace.
Both my grandparents are buried at Louradianika, as custom is that a priest must be buried adjacent to the Church, with the resting place touching the side of the Church. My grandmother Maria, formerly (Calligeros) is also buried next to my grandfather as is the custom. My great grandparents are also buried there, as my great grandfather was also a priest.
When I returned several years ago, to claim my inheritance which was a half share in the family home at Louadianika, shared under the terms of my beloved Uncle Nicholas's will, with my sister, I was told that my Uncle had passed several years earlier. Uncle Nick was in my life from the day of my birth. He returned to care for his elderly parents. I had taken my eldest son David with me because of my ailing health. We went to the house daily, and one day, as we sat drinking coffee and eating paximathia, I said to my son that I could find no one to tell me where my beloved Uncle Nick had been buried. I had searched the graveyards, but could find no sign of his resting place. As David and I sat, overlooking Agio Georgi, 12 white doves appeared from nowhere. The sky was blue, with no sign of a cloud, and the sun was shining. As my son and I watched this incredible sight, the doves flew down towards the Church, and started circling nearby. David and I started towards where the doves were circling, and as we approached, they vanished, as quickly as they had appeared. We found a crumbling stone outhouse, but there was no roof, and time an weather had caused it to crumble, but in amongst this derelict place, which would have housed donkeys years before, there I found a mound of rocks and dirt, and found that it was my uncles resting place. I was heartbroken that this wonderful, loving man, had been buried in this fashion. I could do nothing but gather large stones and place them on this mound, so that I could feel some peace that he at least had a cross, showing his resting place. I made a promise to him that day, as tears fell on my cheeks, that if God would allow me, that one day, I would return and organise some form of headstone with his name on it, to show that this was the place he had been laid to rest.
Louradianika had, and still has, such special memories for me. I remember my Aunt Helen, my grandfathers sister, who was 90 years old, when I was a child, and I still have the original jacket which was part of our national costume. She was such a small build, and the jacket, which to this day is treasured, shows how petite she was.
I wanted to return to Louradianika, but my health deteriorated to the point that I am now disabled with a terminal illness, and can no longer walk.
My love for Cerigo is so strong, and deep, that my greatest wish is that I will be able to return to the island I love, to see out my remaining days, as I have told my husband that I wish to be laid to rest there, with my beloved family members. He gently tells me that I am not physically able to return, but he will do everything possible to have me returned there, to be laid to rest in my beloved Cerigo. He is an amazing man, and we have been married over 40 years and he is Australian, but he knows how deep my feeling are for the island which captured the heart of a 15 year old child, and to this day, the love has not diminished in any way. My son fell in love with the island, and his greatest wish is to return one day.
My Uncle Nicholas, another uncle, would drive his tractor down to Agio Georgi every night to light candles in the church, and then secure it for the night. It was being restored when my son and I were there, and I have been informed that a benefactor has completed the restoration.
My mothers name is Photini Marcellos (nee) Lourantos. Her sisters were Chrisanthi and Manti. She is the youngest of the Lourantos children and is now an elderly lady, who is waiting for God and The Mertithiotisa to take her to be united with my father and the other members of her family. I pray that God and The Mertithiotisa, take her gently in her sleep, and give her the peace she yearns for.
I am terminally ill, so I will not be able to keep my word to my beloved uncle, but God knows where his body has been laid to rest, and my son will hopefully one day, fulfil my wish. I believe that my much adored grandfather has whispered in Gods ear, not to take me just yet, as he believes that I have work He still wishes me to do.
My love for Cerigo is very deep. It is in my heart and my soul. The house at Louradianika was sold by my sister and myself to our cousin Emmanuel Calligeros, to keep it in the family. There are no photos of Louradianika, and I would be eternally grateful if someone could find a way to photograph this tiny village, so that it is not forgotten, and as a tribute to my grandparents and family members who made up this tiny and delightful village. My cousin Emmanuel is the eldest son of my Aunt Manti, my grandparents second daughter. Aunt Chrisanthi passed from cancer, and Uncle Nicholas, from a heart attack one day when he was taking a walk. He passed on the island he loved so much.
I respectfully ask for any assistance my fellow Kytherians may be able to give me, as a tribute to my family, not to allow Louradianika be forgotten. I have no photos, only memories which are as vivid today, as they were when I was a girl of 15, but I would like to share this village of happy memories with my fellow Kytherians.
Maria (Marcellos) Whyte
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My father came from Cerigo Island. His name was Peter Mavromatis. He was born in August of the year 1893. He lived to be 89 years old. He came to the United States as a teen in the year 1910. I believe he first lived in either NY City or Boston, Mass. He spent most of his life living in Buffalo, NY.
Considering how small the Island he came from was, is there any chance of finding any of his living relatives?
When I was born, I was given up for adoption. This is why I have a different surname. As far as I know, my father had no other relatives living here in Buffalo, NY. He worked for the City of Buffalo. He was quite involved with the local Greek (Hellenic) Church. He was a member of the AHEPA Society and served as, along with many other positions, vice-president of the Buffalo McKinley Chapter.
Any help would be appreciated.
Buffalo, NY USA
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House in Potamos
over the past thirty years my wife and I have developed something of a craze for Greece. We have spent our holidays at certain different places there. On the mainland, on large and especially on small islands. In September 2006 we were on Kythera. The beautiful, untouched nature and authenticity……… we were touched. What also was notable were the ruins that unfortunately formed a stark contrast with the overwhelming splendour of the island. The same applies to the house on the edge of Potamos, near the hospital on the right –hand side of the road. After research I found out that the house belongs to the Panaretos-Family. A name which is linked to more houses in Potamos.
My request is the following:
• Do you now who the heirs are and how I can come in contact with them?
• Is there a 'key-administrator'?
Although I think far ahead, it seems to me very valuable to protect buildings with historical value and reduce further decline. By doing this, it also will contribute to preserve this fascinating heritage for the future.
I am very grateful if you could help me.
Christian de Jong, Holland
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Wind-Generation on Kythera
By Constantine Protopsaltis, retired engineer,
NSW Board of Electricity.
The electricity system which we have at present was designed some time ago and consequently it is using subsystems which are well out of date. But we cannot discard what we have at present because it is likely to be very costly. At the same time we must avoid extending its use in its present form if there is a much better way which satisfies important criteria.
There is an effort to improve matters and there are suggestions around, like the wind generators, which at a glance may appear to be the answer to the problem of pollution on our planet. I tend to think always that the environment for us is not Parnitha which, if destroyed by fire, we will suffer in many ways. Most of us may never visit Parnitha, however our environment which we face everyday is what we see when we open our window and look across the way or when we go down the street. And this is something we do every day, day in day out. I don’t suggest that we should forget about Parnitha but instead we should always strive to improve our environment.
What has this to do with the electricity supply which we have at present and which will be made ‘intense’ if we turn the island into a power-supply centre? Anyone who seriously thinks about pollution must surely be aware that the visual pollution of all the power poles which have been planted in the past into the ground and the overhead cables don’t do much to enhance the appearance of our island. And there is not much said about the electromagnetism effects of the high voltage overhead cables.
The power generation we use at present is very old technology and equally old is the wind generation technique. I remember wind generators which were used before the second world war domestically. It was not sophisticated but provided their owners with light at night. The wind generators of to-day range from small domestic and semi-industrial, which are very widely used in USA, to the monstrous machines which unfortunately, for their imposing massive appearance, don’t produce much power.
To provide a system using such large turbines requires massive foundations for stability, they require a lot of steel for the construction of the tower and they also require mechanicals which must be installed in difficult locations. To install 100 such units would require about 30,000 cubic metres of reinforced concrete, possible rock anchoring with steel cables, about 1,000 tones of reinforcing steel, and lots of crane capacity to erect it all. That would require around 2,000 concrete mixer trips as well as many trucks delivering various items of material.
Are we sure that our island road system can stand up to this sort of treatment? Who pays for the restoration of the road system? And what about the road congestion and the disruption to the local traffic? Can we imagine this sort of traffic going through Potamos to deliver to Gerakari?
Added to the nonsense mentioned above we must consider that we will also have the additional power poles and the cables on the island creating so much more pollution, visual but significant, and worse of all we would be stuck with a system which is old and at the end of 20 years we will own nothing, we would have paid for every unit of electricity that we have used and we would then be looking for another system which we would be expected to finance, making some others rich and so on. And on top of all this we will then have to put up with the nuisance of removing all the offending structures, which by then will be rusted and useless, and to remove 30,000 cubic metres of reinforced concrete which will have to be reprocessed because it would be impossible to dump it. Just think of the dust this will create regardless of where the crushing plant is located. And to think that I could not be connected to the power grid because my front door was painted white instead of the traditional blue. And to paint my window which measured 1m x 0.5m I had to submit my proposal to the architectural committee in poleodomia in Pireaus. Has the poleodomia heard about this wind-farm proposal? What about the archeological section? And to think that both of these sections are under the same minister.
An environmental impact study is essential before we start talking any further about wind generators. Also a ‘cost effective’ study should be undertaken since this will not only concern our island but all the islands which are at present dependent on power supply from thermal plants and according to the ministers’ direction must accommodate one wind generator per square kilometre.
I believe that the individual electricity generating voltaic units combined with domestic wind generators will be a more sensible solution. The existing overhead cables can be sold as scrap and the power poles sold to the Japanese to use as wood chips for the production of paper and cardboard. The cost of providing these units would be amortised in ten years and in the meantime there should be no charge for power because the units will be owned by the home owners. And the countryside will look so much better.
Nothing was said here so far about the noise that will be generated by the wind force on the structures and by the rotating wings. A study of this effect would be essential
to show further that this sort of proposal is not consistent with an island of the size of Kithira which has a large number of small villages scattered all over it. Of course we don’t know which parts of the island are going to be developed next and how soon.
We should be petitioning the minister to retract his directive and consider the means of financing the provision of self contained power production units for all new home building construction on the island, as a start, and encourage financially existing home owners to also install such units. Perhaps it makes lots of sense to establish small industries to produce the power production units or parts of them and perhaps there could be a demand of these units by other countries.
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Kythera-Family.net aims to preserve and reflect the rich heritage of a wonderful island. Members of the community are invited to submit their family collection of Kytherian stories, photographs, recipes, maps, oral histories, biographies, historical documents, songs and poems, home remedies etc. to the site. Uploading directly to the site is easy, but if you wish you can also send your collections to us by email or post and we will submit them for you. Thus we can help make available valuable and interesting material for current and future generations, and inspire young Kytherians to learn more about their fascinating heritage.
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