THE LAST GENERATION
On this page we have something completely different. Life on this island, (and indeed on many Greek islands for which the main industry is tourism) changed dramatically about 30 years ago when tourists started to arrive in significant numbers.
The old way of life was more or less abandoned totally. A new industry had arrived, and as a result, a more comfortable way of life. Tourism meant that the population could afford to stay here. Many millions of Greeks (particularly from the islands) have left Greece to work all over the world because for many people there quite simply was no work, or what there was, was very poorly paid.
Parents wanted something better for their children than working the land from childhood, or leaving their homes because they had no other option.Tourism was embraced whole-heartedly.
As a consequence old houses have been left to fall into disrepair all over the island. However, they have a powerful story to tell.
They tell of a hard life. They tell of true community spirit. They tell of living with nature. They tell of large,noisy families. They tell of an incredibly deep-rooted faith in their Church. They tell of waiting with bated breath for the next Saints Name Day where communities would gather to celebrate and dance to the island music. They tell the story of many generations, but most poignantly, of the last one, because it was the last to live the old life.
Here you can see some photo's of 'mandras' (the old farm houses); the surrounding inland countryside; a water source (which is still used for drinking water); orange and lemon trees; olive trees; bee hives and goats.
This is a typical 'mandra', an agricultural workers home. It comprised one or two rooms and was commonly home to parents with 6 or 7 children. There was no electricity, no running water, no indoor plumbing )or even outdoor in many cases!) They were constructed of stone and the roof was made of wooden timbers covered with a layer of 'kalami' (which is something like bamboo) and then, depending on where you lived, finished off with a layer of mud, or seaweed. They were not always watertight and the floors were packed earth.
Here you can see details of the traditional roofing materials.
The family oven
The living room fireplace
....over the page for more