If you were thinking of Crete for a holiday, take a look at the video for a taste of this magical island.
Last week I saw two new born lambs, and the almond trees are in blossom, that delecate, baby pink, a warm rouge on the wind swept hills of winter. And the orange trees of the village are so full of golden baubles that they could have been dressed for a shop window. Snow is melting from the mountain tops to give way to green shoots, and spring rain is a welcome gift of water to last through the long dry summer. Who could not be happy in such a place?
But the reality is that so many people are unhappy here. There is a gloom, a meloncholy sitting over Greece. Young families have no hope for the future of their children. Prices have risen, wages have dropped, and unemployment is rising. There is little opportunity for anyone. Self employment is a nightmare that I have only ever seen end in disaster. Debt is like a terminal illness hanging over the heads of so many. There are soup kitchens in most big towns, calls for second hand clothing, help for families who are about to have their electricity cut off. Dogs are being put out onto the street because owners cannot afford to feed them. How long before it is children on the doorstep of the Church?
So, if you do come to Crete for a holiday this year, try to be aware that behind all those lovely Cretan smiling faces, there is real strife. The problems are not going to disappear, but people may. How long will it be before doctors, dentists, teachers, and other professionals are forced to leave in search of a better life somewhere else. Hotels may close down, shops and restaurants too. They all need help!
Years ago my sister had to attend a school in a mining area of Yorkshire. My parents said that the school was not educating its pupils, but turning them into labour for the mines. What will the children of Crete be turned into? Their parents will not be able to afford English lessons. Higher education will be ruled out. The son of a friend of mine has stayed on at school for 3 extra years, and the only job he has been offered is that of a pizza delivery boy. The basic wage for under 25s has been cut by 30% to just over 3 euro an hour.
So, come to Crete for your holiday, choose it because it is a beautiful place to come, be happy, laze in the warm sunshine, and swim in the clean, clear blue Cretan Sea. And know that by spending your well earned money in Crete, you are helping towards the future of these lovely people.
And if you do come over to Crete, make your way to Vrahassi, and while away a few hours at one of the taverna's in the centre. I might meet you there!
Love Jane x