Day 7: Epiphany and Mt. Oros

Bright and early this morning, another small group of us went back to the soup kitchen to volunteer. We did some more cleaning that was really needed. For their thanks, they fed us some cookies afterward.

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26231728_10100873171648909_3336368428580161700_nWhen we returned from the soup kitchen, we went down to the waterfront to watch the Epiphany celebrations. Epiphany is one of the largest holidays in the Greek Orthodox religion. This event was where the priest, while chanting their prayers, threw a cross into the ocean three times. After the third time, area men would jump in after it in hopes of winning good luck.

IMG_7443Our next journey was to conquer Mt. Oros, the tallest peak in Aegina. Some made the long walk from the city to the mountain, while others biked or took a taxi.

IMG_7444Eventually, though, we all made it to the top and got to ring the bell. The view was incredible, and we were all thankful we made the long trek up!

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Day 6: The Garden

We began the day with a brisk morning walk with Eleni to the garden site. We love spending time with her because we learn so much about the day to day life in Greece.

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Upon reaching are destination we learned that the organization takes care of 160 families that have been affected by the crisis in Greece. They were very excited to have us put in a garden of onions and lettuce so that they would be able to provide fresh produce to the families that they serve.

I liked their play on words, “I am a volunteer.”

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After the garden, we were able to have a free afternoon. The majority of the group took a brisk walk to the lighthouse around sunset. The views were absolutely amazing!

Day 5: Rainy Day

 

 

Today, we were supposed to get up and spend the morning planting a garden. However, we woke up to rather soggy conditions, so this service activity had to be pushed back. Instead, we had class for a couple of hours. After doing a lesson over personal finance, we played a game of charades to determine who would have to get what during a scavenger hunt that would occur later in the day. We also used the game to test our knowledge over the 7 C’s of social change; something we had previously covered in class.

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After class, the three losing groups headed out to collect the ingredients our professors needed to prepare dinner. We had quite a few items to find, however everyone at the market was incredibly helpful.  Of course some of the workers knew english better than others, so it was interesting to see multiple people collaborate to answer our questions regarding where to find things. Eventually, we all made it back with everything we needed without having to exchange anything!

This evening we will be having home cooked moussaka, which is a traditional greek meal that is sort of similar to lasagna, but with eggplant and beef. After that, we will have the evening to ourselves. We rescheduled our garden work for tomorrow, so be looking for pictures of that then! 🙂

Day 4: Cultural Outreach

Day 4 was packed full of activities involving the local community here in Aegina! To start off the morning, Kerri, McKenna, Molly, Arianna, and Katherine were the first group to volunteer at the soup kitchen. The girls helped chop vegetables for bean soup, wash the dishes, and clean out cabinets. To show their appreciation, the owners prepared traditional Greek coffee for us!souppotsgirlscoffee

Next, the whole group visited the Panagitsa Church and met Father Constantine! We learned about the history of Greek Orthodox and Catholicism, as well as the different architectural features of the church. He grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, but now serves as a priest here on the island!

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After meeting with Father Constantine, we paired up with local school children and played a few games of kickball and soccer! We had a blast teaching them the game of kickball as well as helping them with their English, and they got to show us their soccer skills!

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We had the best day and can’t wait for our next adventure!

Day 3: Adventures in Aegina

Our first full day in Aegina did not disappoint (even though the day started out with Blake blaring his terrible alarm music too early in the morning, purposefully enraging his fellow roommates). From a little bakery a few blocks from the sea to a wonderful restaurant in the hills, we ate more than our fill and did enough walking to burn it all off.

Our first stop was the Sanctuary of Aphaia.

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Our next stop was a Monastery just down the road from the Sanctuary.

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The dessert from lunch that Blake described as tasting like “freezer burn”.

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After lunch, we walked to the town located just off the shore.

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*Photo brought to you by Trevor Courtney Photography

 

 

DAY 2 HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Pop, Fizz, Clink! We popped the bubbly and celebrated ringing in the New Year with the champagne cork hitting Walker in the eye. The view of the fireworks going off over the Acropolis in Athens was breathtaking!

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After walking around and getting lost in the city, we found our way into the National Gardens “Εθνικός Κήπος”.

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While in the garden we followed what we thought was a parade but we were eagerly surprised when the President of Greece introduced himself and spoke directly to our group.

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After a hour ferry ride from Athens, we have arrived to Aegina!!

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Devin busted a pomegranate to signify good luck and prosperity for the New Year.

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