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Thessaloniki International Fair September 17, 2014

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In Thessaloniki, takes place from the 6 to the 14th of September the 79th T.I.F. (Thessaloniki International Fair).

This weekend, the city sees itself crowded because of this fair festival. We, all U.S.B’s volunteers, were there. Here is how we can describe the first day of International Fair Thessaloniki.

This festival helps sellers and entrepreneurs to promote their productions and ideas in a jovial and festive atmosphere. Many countries had introduced their products but most part is made in Greece, which is really important for the economy.

For the entrance the first day, it was 5 euro and another days until the end will be 3 euro.

From children to seniors, everyone can find something interesting in this festival: cars, playgrounds, a big chocolate factory, food, giant halls with different products from wine, cheese, candies, to jewels, bags make up and carpets. You can taste almost each food. Which we did perfectly.

Chocolate fabric is really amazing, you can taste chocolate and see how they are preparing these sweets. About the entrance, you have to pay 2.50 euro. But it’s really worth trying.

There are also several games that you can try outside (that is the tent of a fair), and when you get tired walking around, you can sit on some nice sofas or take a frappe on a terrace. Food outside is a bit expensive.

For the artistic part, you can enjoy exhibitions; one that I really liked was CHEAPART. A lot of artists present their masterpieces in a large room.

Around midnight, a concert arrives. Of course I didn’t know the singers, but I suppose that there were quite famous,

Factory of Chocolate

Factory of Chocolate

Concert of Despina Vandi

Concert of Despina Vandi

Exhibition of Computer Technology

Exhibition of Computer Technology

IMG_6372regarding to all the people waiting for hours in front of the stage, and their exaltation when the live show finally started.

This night, on stage were Μηδενιστης, a rap singer, and Δεσποινα Βανδι with her pop music. Nevertheless we couldn’t understand Greek songs we danced a lot thanks/because of the ρακόμελο we bought there.

Badri Pataraia, Wendy Bana Etong.

War Museum of Thessaloniki September 17, 2014

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Today we visited this museum which is really nice especially for males. Thessaloniki war museum opened its doors to the public in October 2000. It is housed in the building designed by architect Vitaliano Posseli and erected between 1900 and 1902. The building has two floors.

For the entrance you must pay 3 euro per person, also you can take the pictures without flash, everyone will agree it’s not expensive and in most part of the museums it’s forbidden to take picture inside.

First floor’s hall is military awards and decorations. It’s not only Greek, it is a collection from whole Europe. Also a collection of small arms used in various Geek conflicts, ranging from flint lock pistols to the modern assault rifles. You can also see swords, daggers, knifes. This is a place where I can stay many hours. But we have more interesting things to see upstairs, where is situated modern history of Greece, WWII so we fought, The Liberation of Thessaloniki in 1912, Greco-Italian war, the battle of Crete.

When I entered inside I had a feeling the mannequin soldiers were alive and ready again to battle, it has really strong influence. There is all wars accoutrements and history which had modern Greece in whole history. Each hall has screen where you can see slides about Greek military history. I have an advice for the parents who are visiting this museum with children: show them what did the ancestors for Greece and their future. For sure after this museum they will be more patriotic. I can’t describe everything with words, you have to see the pictures or visit this museum.

Outside in the museum’s yard are some war vehicles. A war vehicles collection including: small artillery, officers transportation vehicles, tanks, a torpille, a

a

pISTOLS

pISTOLS

By Badri Pataraia

By Badri Pataraia

Nazi's army accoutrements

Nazi’s army accoutrements

Greko-italy war

Greko-italy war

F-5

F-5

nd main F-5 Fighter which is pride of the war museum.

Badri Pataraia and Wendy Bana Etong

My adventure in Thessaloniki began. By Maria Petkova November 18, 2013

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A few weeks ago I did not know much about Thessaloniki and now I can’t wait to discover the city. I know that I have to have an exploratory spirit and patience so that at the end the city could reveal some of its secrets to me.

Fortunately, for my first day in Thessaloniki I had two guides – my old Greek friend – Alexandra and my new friend Burak. The first place they took me was Aristotle Square. I was fascinated by the vast space that the square occupies.Then we went to the White Tower where we could relax in the small park next to it and enjoy the beauty of the sea and the reflections of the city lights. It was Saturday, so people were out to have fun, cafes and restaurants were crowded and everywhere I could hear music and laughter. Not only the nightlife is pulsating, but also the cultural one is. Thevery first day I visited the film festival of Thessaloniki, one of the many cultural events that the city offers. The cinema is located in one of the oldest parts of the harbour next to the museum of photography, cinema and the museum of modern art.

The following two weeks I spent most of the time with my roommates who are also volunteers in U.S.B.I’m usually a kind of shy person and I build trust with people slowly and that’s why I was really surprised with the fact that we came close so fast and on the third night we already shared and talked for very personal things about family, love, our joyful moments in life as well as more tragic ones. During this short time we laughed, danced and sang. Kris (Germany) and Ricardo (Italy) bought a guitar- what a great idea. So, they offer a free concert for us every night since then. Of course except having fun we did some work.I had the opportunity to get to know more closely the activities of the U.S.B. as well as with the people who work there.We set the first tasks according to our own interests as well we visited a conference organized by the British Embassy. It was a public debate addressing young people’s participation in politics. The presentation was very inspiring, but it placed more questions than providing answers to the problems.

My first impression about Greeks is that they know how to enjoy life and are always ready to help you when you need it. Everyone is very friendly towards me, and their approach to things is positive.People say that every beginning is difficult but mine wasn’t. This maxim doesn’t apply to them because they are easygoing and they mix work with pleasure and the boredom’ is a forbidden word.Hereafter I will learn more and more about Greece and I have the feeling that my adventure will be amazing.

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Saloniki, old and beautiful like a wine. By Necdet Burak Özyurt November 15, 2013

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ImageEverything happened suddenly. The time that I started feeling hopeless for my applications about doing an EVS, someone called me and said to me ‘your EVS application is accepted, you will go to Greece.’ Aha! It was my dream. The idea of going to Greece, specially to Saloniki, and live there for 10 months from where my grandparents left in 1912, excited me. Everything happened suddenly. I was going to Saloniki, to United Societies Balkans (U.S.B.) which is my new family.

I came to Saloniki on the 7th of November. It was a sunny day. Also it was my first travel with plane, that’s why it was so interesting for me. Finally, I couldn’t escape from planes forever. Olympia Datsi my mentor and Aris Parashou, my EVS coordinator, picked me up from the airport. It was a very kind gesture. After that they showed to me my new home and I met other volunteers, my new friends. They welcomed me so friendly. But if it is your first time in abroad, it’s not easy. It was needed in the beginning to discover Thessaloniki with my photo camera in order to touch city’s face. That experience affected me a lot. Yes, I knew that Turks and Greeks have so many similarities but to see this position and feel it, it’s so different and affective. Also I knew it before that I didn’t come to a totally European city. Through my eyes, Saloniki looks similar to Istanbul and Izmir; a city between West and East, Europe and Asia, modern and traditional. It seems so rich to me. I continue observing this wealth in the streets of Saloniki. This city lives with its history and still carries the culture of the Romans, Byzantines, Turks, Jews and Greeks. Thessaloniki is at the same time an old and beautiful city like a wine. I understood now, why the King Philipp, Alexander the Great’s father, gave to his daughter the name, ‘Salonika’.

In the U.S.B., I work with Spanish, Italian, German and Bulgarian friends. Also I live with them. It was my dream too, to touch each other’s cultures and to learn something about them. By the way, I start learning Greek. I attended a Greek course 3 years ago in Istanbul but I couldn’t continue it and now I have a great chance to attend a class and speak Greek. I can read Constantine P. Cavafi’s poems in originally texts, now I have that chance. I have many hopes and expectations for my volunteer term.

As I said my grandparents came from Saloniki to Minor Asia. I feel special things about it. I remember of Manolis who is one of the main characters in Dido Sotiriu’s novel (Matomena Homata). I greet him from Saloniki! Ironically I have a new family in this city.

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* Necdet does his European Voluntary Service, supported and funded by the Turkish National Agency under the Youth in Action programme. His Sending Organization is TREX-EVS (http://www.trexevs.org).

Nice to see you again, Thessaloniki! By Ignacio Prados Ansede October 16, 2013

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This article starts with a lie. To be honest, the whole point of this is a huge lie. I was told to write my first impression about Thessaloniki, like if this was my first visit to the city. And it is not, this may sound weird, but I know the city quite well.

My actual first impression of the city took place four years ago, at the end of September, when I arrived to a country, where I had never been, to start my Erasmus year. It was a rainy day, I was tired and the first thing I thought about Greek language at the Thessaloniki airport was that I would have to solve an equation to get out of there. Luckily, I did not have to and I was able to take a taxi thanks to my nonverbal communication. After nine months of good experiences, great trips and an uncountable amount of ‘souvlakis’ and ‘bougatsas’, I came back to Spain to finish my degree, study a Master and find myself in a jobless situation (like almost everyone in Spain) until I got the chance to return to the city where I lived so much. And I just took it; I had many good memories about life in Thessaloniki and Greece in general.

My “second” first impression was much better than the previous one. At least there was someone waiting for me at the airport, Olympia, who took to my new flat in Agios Pavlos where I could rest after a whole day of trains and planes. If you come, don’t be scared because of the climbing, you will get used to it and you will develop steel knees and an amazing ass (I am still waiting for that, though). And the following day I went to the U.S.B. office where I could meet all the welcoming staff and start to get a view of what I will be able to do the following ten months during my EVS here.

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The first week I checked if the city had changed, and if it had, in which ways. I started with my priority number 1: food. The ‘souvlaki’ place called Delicatessen is still open and the food there is as delicious as the name indicates. Valentino ‘crepes’ (pancakes) in Navarino are even greater and the streets have just the same smell I used to love, a mix between grill, coffee and cinnamon. And yes, ‘frappe’ is still Greek national drink, neither ‘ouzo’ nor ‘tsipouro’, ‘frappe’, that’s the word. Then I checked the nightlife and I found out that Valaoritou turned into a kind of ghetto with thousands of people are gathering for a beer in one of the fancy bars that opened the last years and that these crazy and cheap parties in the campus area are still going on. Finally I checked my Greek language skills to find out I almost forgot everything and I can barely nod my head while saying ‘nai, nai’, but it is a start.

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Changing to the bad things, I noticed that mosquitoes are my main enemy in Greece, but I guess this is just my problem and no one’s else. Traffic is as crazy as it was and I am still getting used to the Greek way of crossing the street that it can be summed up like this: run for your life! And yes, neighbours seem to not like us very much specially during the silence hours and we are supposedly making some noise.

And that’s all I can say by now, this is my second first impression of a city that is crowded by young people, cultural activities and nightlife, a city where life is nice. If you are thinking about coming here, don’t hesitate anymore, do it. Don’t let anyone else to tell you his or her first impression and live it by yourself.

* Ignacio does his European Voluntary Service, supported and funded by the Hellenic National Agency under the Youth in Action programme. His Sending Organization is Asociación Cultural Ingalicia (http://www.ingalicia.org).

My First Impression of Thessaloniki. By Diego Domínguez García October 7, 2013

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I arrived at the International Airport of Thessaloniki on September 6th. It was 11 in the morning and it was hot (26 degrees). I was carrying 45 kg distributed in three bags. I had left my hometown the day before and I had only slept two hours. I was tired, really tired, but at the same time I was thrilled to start a new adventure in my life. Probably, the best adventure in my short lifeI arrived at the airport and Aris and Olympia were waiting for me. I was glad to hear that he preferred to be called Aris instead of Aristodimos, since it is a name too long and too Greek and I could have mispronounced it easily.

Both of them helped me carry my luggage. Aris took the biggest bag while holding on the other hand a big glass of coffee. It wouldn´t be the only time I saw that big coffee that day, neither during my first week. I started to realize that Greece is not only a place of feta cheese, but also of coffee.

Moving on, we entered the car. While I was fastening my seat belt, I felt Ari´s eyes on me. He was staring at me saying “C´mon. We don´t do that in Greece. You´re too legal”. It was surprising for me but I kept my seat belt fastened, not because I did not trust Aris, but because I usually do it. Then, I saw that all the drivers did not fasten their belts, and almost none motorbike rider use his or her helmet. Nothing happened during the trip and we got safe and sound to the apartment.

When we left the apartment to go to the office I thought: “Nice, we are going down”. I was being too naive. I did not realize that if you go down, later you must go up. And both home and office are way too up. Nevertheless, if we look on the bright side of life, we are saving a lot of money in fitness training. The problem the first days was the high temperature. I am a Scottish Spaniard and I am not used at this.

Although it was sunny and hot, there was also water in Thessaloniki. And I am not talking about the Aegean Sea, not even the rain. I am talking about the glasses of water served at the pubs. The first time I ordered a loykanikopita (sausage wrapped in foil pie) I was not expecting a glass of water. If I knew it, I would not have ordered a coke. Neither was I expecting another glass of water after ordering a beer in Agia Sophia. Maybe it was too polite for me.

However, none of these anecdotes is part of my first impression. Since an “impression” is “an effect, feeling, or image retained as a consequence of experience”, my first impression of Thessaloniki is the image of the view of the city from our balcony I have kept in my mind. The pure white of the city against the brave blue of the sea. The yellow sun turning into orange on the walls by night. A city that sounds like music and keeps on dancing as time passes by.

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* Diego does his European Voluntary Service, supported and funded by the Hellenic National Agency under the Youth in Action programme. His Sending Organization is Asociación Cultural Ingalicia (http://www.ingalicia.org).

Thessaloniki, here I am! By Riccardo Rossi* September 19, 2013

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On Sunday first September night I touched down at Thessaloniki international Airport (Greece) after having been stuck at the Athens airport for 30 minutes due to a problem with Aegean Airlines. Honestly, when I was waiting for the flight to Thessaloniki at the Athens Airport the first feeling I had right off the bat was: It is a really good start!!!!!!!!!

Some United Societies of Balkans staff came over to the airport to pick me up, and took me to my new home. Once we went there I got to know those who will be my new flatmates. At first blush, I thought that they are not so bad people to get along with! Same impression I had for my new roommate. He is from Turkey but he speaks excellent Greek as he has been studying it for four years, and he has also been living in Thessaloniki for seven months. I am really happy to share my room with him, because he is such a funny person to stay with. I have been in Thessaloniki for almost three weeks now, and I have already begun to get the feel of the city. First impressions are important, but they should be appreciated for their fragility. So far, everything I have felt about the city is something special to me, but I also guess that time will expose my first perceptions in a wrong or right way; it does not matter. However, at first glance I could notice some clear architectural differences between my country and Greece by just having a look at buildings such as churches, cathedrals, castles, and so on. Throughout the downtown buildings are old and beautiful, small shops are favoured over the larger stores. Thessaloniki is surrounded by green mountains, and you can have an amazing view of the sea by staying in the upper part of the city where the fortress is.

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As far as I can tell, the city is a lively place rolled up in a relaxing atmosphere especially by evening, which gives you the feeling that time goes by slowly. Although, I would say that the city has a particular feature: it becomes noisy at night and hectic at overnight. There is a variety of activities at nights, most of all in the weekends, such as concerts which are often held in the University, discos, and bars. I also realized differences between Greece and my country become so subtle, referring to the fact that people have many different ways of enjoying life, especially the night’s one. As it happens in my country here you can find “certain people” – e.g. with a particular way of dressing, of looking -, according to the place that they stay in. I would say that in general the city is open to a variety of ways of being, and it also allows you to be as you are. Another aspect which has aroused my curiosity is the fact that in Greece siesta’s hours are granted by the law. It sounds strange at least to me, and I did not know before came here. As far as I experienced the people of my district Agios Pavlos are friendly to the tourists, but not so much during the siesta’s hours. Over the siesta’s hours in this neighborhood anyone stays in silence, and if you might make any single subtle noise you would be scold by the typical whistle “shhhhhhhhhh”. If you walk on the district streets in the summer period, from 14.00 to 17.00, you cannot hear a pin drop. Truth be told, I did not notice this attitude of people in each part of the Thessaloniki but only in my neighborhood, where perhaps residents are such law abiding people. Even so, I am so happy about the fact that residents appreciate to hear my huge efforts in speaking Greek. So far, I am just able to get cigarettes in Greek and vaguely greet people. It is really funny because I am totally panicky whenever the shopkeeper tries to tell me something else. However, I will have time to learn Greek as well as I will have time and eagerness to discover the desires, fears, secrets, and perspectives of the city. Finally, I would like to conclude by quoting one of my most favourite Italian writers, Italo Calvino. Once he wrote about the cities: “Arriving at each new city, the traveler finds again a past of his that he did not know he had: the foreignness of what you no longer are or no longer possess lies in wait for you in foreign, unpossessed places.”

*Riccardo does his European Voluntary Service, supported and funded by the Hellenic National Agency under the Youth in Action programme.

“MP3s – Multipliers for Peace in 3 steps” vol. 01 May 29, 2013

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Τετάρτη 22 Μαΐου 2013

Το νέο πρόγραμμα κατάρτισης

“ΜP3s – Multipliers for peace in 3 steps”

(Πολλαπλασιαστές για την ειρήνη σε 3 Βήματα)

ξεκίνησε!

 *English Text Follows.

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Το σχέδιο κατάρτισης “ΜP3 – Multipliers for Peace in 3 steps” λαμβάνει χώρα σε ένα από τα πιο όμορφα φυσικά τοπία της Βορείου Ελλάδος, στο Χολομώντα της Χαλκιδικής. Τη Δευτέρα 20 Μαΐου, κατέφτασαν στο αεροδρόμιο της Θεσσαλονίκης 20 νέοι από 10 διαφορετικές χώρες της Ευρώπης, των Βαλκανίων και του Καυκάσου (Αρμενία, Γεωργία, Βουλγαρία, Ρουμανία, Ιταλία, Δανία, Ουγγαρία, Κύπρο, Τουρκία και Ελλάδα). Παρόλο που οι συμμετέχοντες ταλαιπωρήθηκαν λόγω των πολλών μετακινήσεων και των δυσκολιών που αντιμετώπισαν, ορισμένοι, για την έκδοση βίζας, η διάθεση τους ήταν ιδιαίτερα ανεβασμένη. Οι νέοι, ηλικίας 18-30 ετών, από την πρώτη κιόλας βραδιά επιδίωξαν να μοιραστούν μεταξύ τους τις προσωπικές τους εμπειρίες και αντάλλαξαν πληροφορίες σχετικά με τις χώρες καταγωγής τους. Οι περισσότεροι από τους νέους επισκέπτονται για πρώτη φορά την Ελλάδα και ιδίως την ορεινή Χαλκιδική.

Ο ίδιος ενθουσιασμός επικράτησε και την επόμενη μέρα, όπου τα πρώτα σεμινάρια πραγματοποιήθηκαν με επιτυχία. Η βασική θεματική ήταν η εισαγωγή στο πρόγραμμα και τους στόχους του 10ήμερου σχεδίου κατάρτισης. Με την καθοδήγηση των εκπαιδευτών, τη δεύτερη ημέρα του σεμιναρίου επιδιώχθηκε η συγκρότηση  ομάδων, καθώς η εξαρχής θέσπισης τους είναι καθοριστικής σημασίας. Οι ομάδες συγκροτήθηκαν από άτομα διαφορετικής ηλικίας και εθνικότητας, με σκοπό να επιτευχθεί η καλύτερη γνωριμία των συμμετεχόντων και οι στόχοι του προγράμματος, μέσα από μεθόδους μη τυπικής μάθησης, συζητήσεις και την ανάδειξη των συγκρούσεων που υπάρχουν σε αυτές τις χώρες και κοινωνίες.

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Η ημέρα ολοκληρώθηκε με το καλωσόρισμα των κατοίκων του χωριού Ταξιάρχη, όπου δόθηκε η δυνατότητα στους νέους να έρθουν σε άμεση επαφή με τους κατοίκους του χωριού και κυρίως με τους συνομήλικούς τους. Στη συνέχεια πραγματοποιήθηκε η διαπολιτισμική βραδιά, όπου οι νέοι παρουσίασαν τα παραδοσιακά εδέσματα της χώρας τους και γεύτηκαν αντίστοιχα τοπικές νοστιμιές. Τέλος, η βραδιά ολοκληρώθηκε με πολύ χορό, χειροκρότημα και όλοι οι συμμετέχοντες έφυγαν με τη γνώση ορισμένων ελληνικών λέξεων. Η στήριξη του Δήμου και της περιοχής, αποτελεί καθοριστικής σημασίας για την πραγματοποίηση του προγράμματος.

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Το σχέδιο κατάρτισης “ΜP3s – Multipliers for peace in 3 steps”, διοργανώνεται από τη μη κυβερνητική οργάνωση “Ενωμένες Κοινωνίες των Βαλκανίων”, με τη συγχρηματοδότηση του Ευρωπαϊκού προγράμματος “Νέα Γενιά σε Δράση”. Το πρόγραμμα στοχεύει μέσα από τη μέθοδο των 3 βημάτων – ειρήνη με τον εαυτό μας, ειρήνη με την κοινωνία και το περιβάλλον καθώς και ειρήνη με τις άλλες χώρες- στην εκπαίδευση πάνω στη διαχείριση κρίσεων και την ειρήνη.

Η συνέχεια έπεται τις επόμενες μέρες, ενώ οι συμμετέχοντες καλούνται να αντιμετωπίσουν ακόμη μεγαλύτερες προκλήσεις. Άραγε, θα καταφέρουν οι νέοι διαφορετικών εθνικοτήτων, να διαχειριστούν θέματα κρίσης και να θεσπίσουν πρώτα από όλα ειρήνη με τους εαυτούς τους; Αυτό θα φανεί τις επόμενες ημέρες…

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

The new training course

“MP3s – Multipliers for peace in 3 steps”

has started!

 

The training course “MP3s – Multipliers for Peace in 3 steps” takes place in one of the most beautiful natural landscapes of Northern Greece, in Holomonta of Chalkidiki. Twenty youths from 10 different countries of Europe, Balkans and Caucasus (Armenia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Romania, Italy, Denmark, Hungary, Cyprus, Turkey and Greece), have arrived on Monday at the airport of Thessaloniki. Despite the hardship of participants due to many transportations and difficulties concerning visa edition, their mood was still very good. By the very first night, youngsters between 18-30 years old were eager to share their personal experiences with each other and exchanged information about the countries of origin. For most of the participants this is their first visit to Greece and particularly to the mountainous Chalkidiki.

The same enthusiasm continued and the next day, where the first workshops have been successfully held. The main topic was the presentation and introduction to the seminar and its ultimate purposes. During the second day, the trainers together with participants managed the most critical challenge, the forming of groups. The groups formed by youngsters of different ages and nationalities in order to know each other better and achieve the project’s aim through the methods of non-formal education, discussions and highlighting the conflicts that exist in these countries and societies.

The day ended with the welcome of the locals from the village Taxiarchis, where participants had the opportunity to come into direct contact with the youths of the same age. Then, the intercultural evening took place, where youngsters presented their traditional dishes and tasted local delicacies. Finally, the evening ended with dancing, clapping and all participants having learnt certain Greek words. The support of the Municipality and region are crucial for the realization of the program.

The training course “MP3s- Multipliers for peace in 3 steps” is organized by the non-governmental organization “United Societies of Balkans”, with the co-funding of European Programme “Youth in Action”. The project aims through the method of three steps – peace with ourselves, peace with the society, environment and peace with other countries – to educate participants on conflict management and peace.

The next days, participants are asked to face greater challenges. First of all, would they achieve to make peace with themselves? We will see the next days …

40° N. On the same parallel. By Matteo Scarpa May 20, 2013

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I’m just sliding on an imaginary line drawn on our mother Earth. 40° N. Going East.

Henry Miller is stuck on my mind again. Do you know him? I don’t know him, neither. I’ve never met him but cannot get rid of his most famous quote out of my mind. It’s chasing me in every step of my life.

They said me: “In three days you’ll leaving, pack your stuff!”

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Destination: 40° 38′ 0″ N.

Bene, Vado!

“Κανείς δε μένει χωρίς πατρίδα, όσο θα υπάρχει Θεσσαλονίκη.” (Νικηφόρος Χούμνος)

I would have learnt that some days later.

No doubt about it.

Fate, sometimes plays with you and you recognize it just after. Laughter and smile will appear on your face if you take it just as it is. You move on. You just move. You know you’ll miss your friends but you move. You move for the sake of that hungry soul you bring inside.

I’m coming back to a place to which I just happened to pass by in November 2011. Few days here on the Greek soil were enough to see the beauty of a culture that has never lost its charm. How many times around Europe, Greek friends have told me “Una faza una raza” [“One face, one race”] with that greek-italian accent. That’s more than just a saying, that’s a pure truth. Astonish people and smell flavors of history everywhere, again and more. Clouds of smoke, cozy taverns, sounds and traditions, dancing feet and loud voices. Seems I’ve never moved so closer to my home.

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Flashbacks walking downtown makes you take unknown paths unconsciously knowing already were you are going to end up. Mystery of human minds, reality of human life. My life here and now. That’s nothing more going on through my mind.

I just contemplate the city up from the Heptapyrgion. Blue immense sea after a crowded and indistinct mess of houses and buildings, all spiced up with a stunning sunset that can recharge you in no time.

On these coordinates I just started to make things happen. On these coordinates mother Earth can feel my steps now, who knows till when. In the meantime Henry Miller reappears and slowly shows me that new way.

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”

Henry Miller

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Don’t judge a book by its cover! Από τη Φωτεινή Καραμούζη April 18, 2013

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20 Μαρτίου 2013. Η ώρα είναι 8:30 το πρωί και το αεροδρόμιο της Θεσσαλονίκης πλήττεται από την αδιάκοπη κίνηση ταξιδιωτών. Άνθρωποι είτε μόνοι είτε με παρέα. Αναμένοντας την ένδειξη επιβίβασης βλέπω ένα πρόσωπο γνωστό και συνειδητοποιώ πως τούτο το ταξίδι θα προσφέρει κοινωνικές σχέσεις.

Το ταξίδι συνεχίζει και το μεσημέρι με βρίσκει στην πόλη του Bergamo. Μια πόλη χτισμένη ψηλά σε λόφο, με τείχη να υψώνονται στους ουρανούς θαρρείς τα σύννεφα πασχίζουν να αγγίξουν.

Επόμενος προορισμός Παλέρμο! Η ώρα δεν άργησε και πολύ να φτάσει που πάλι ο χρόνος θα με έβρισκε με μια βαλίτσα να περπατώ αναζητώντας τρένα. Χαμένη σε βροχερά μονοπάτια. Το τελευταίο τρένο απέχει μόλις μια ώρα από τον τελικό μου προορισμό κι όμως ήδη οι δεκατρείς ώρες ταξιδιού σκιαγραφούνται στις ρυτίδες του προσώπου μου και στα υγρά κόκκινα μάτια μου που εξουθενωμένα πια αναζητούν καταφύγιο μετά την παλίρροια εικόνων που υπέστησαν σήμερα. Τα φώτα της πόλης του Παλέρμου αχνοφαίνονταν από μακριά και ο μακρύς συρτός ήχος του τρένου δυναμώνει περισσότερο την αναμονή μου. Τα χέρια μου ανήμπορα να σηκωθούν, να σκουντήξουν το διπλανό μου που κοιμάται. Καθώς το τρένο σέρνεται αργά στις ράγες, η πόλη σιγοψιθυρίζει στα κρυφά λόγια σειρήνας που σε καλούν ταχέως να την ανακαλύψεις. Πρώτη αίσθηση η όσφρηση που πλημμυρίζει θαλασσινά την ώχρα της νύχτας κι έπειτα η ακοή, η όραση, μια πόλη νεκρή από φως μα ζωντανή στο σκότος και στο μυστήριο. Πέφτει η νύχτα στο Παλέρμο!

21 Μαρτίου 2013. Οι πρώτοι συμμετέχοντες καταφτάνουν στην αίθουσα συνεδριάσεων, δειλά, καλημερίζοντας τους πιθανούς τους φίλους και συνοδοιπόρους στους δρόμους της Ανθρώπινης Βιβλιοθήκης.

Κι η μέρα ενώ ξεκίνησε συννεφιασμένη και σκοτεινή, αρχίζει ν’ ανθίζει χαμόγελα στα παιχνίδια γνωριμιών και συνεργασίας εκεί κάπου στους διαδρόμους ενός καθολικού μοναστηριού που ήτο σιωπηλό μόνο. Τώρα άπληστα μάτια το τηρούν σα να’ ναι αξιοθέατο σε τούτο το ταξίδι αναζήτησης του εαυτού σου μέσα στους άλλους. Χέρια ενώνονται, μάτια αρχίζουν ν’ αγαπιούνται, η ακοή και η όσφρηση μαρτυρούν τα χιλιόμετρα που ξεχωρίζουν τον καθένα, αφού στο τέλος συνειδητοποιούμε πως την ίδια εικόνα αλλιώτικα την ενσωματώνουμε εντός μας.

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Το απόγευμα μας βρίσκει στο καφέ του κόσμου και εγώ να μιλώ για τα ξενιτεμένα σου όνειρα, εκείνα που μετανάστευσαν στο μέλλον και σ’ άφησαν άστεγο να αναζητάς τους χίλιους ήχους των προσφύγων. Κι έπεσε η νύχτα ξανά στο μυστηριώδες Παλέρμο και μένα με βρίσκει στη μέση μιας σκηνής να χορεύω τραγούδια μιας πατρίδας και να πετώ τα παπούτσια μου στα παρασκήνια!

22 Μαρτίου 2013. Είναι παράξενο όταν η μέρα ξεκινά με μια ερώτηση. Εκεί που η σκέψη αναζητά τη γνώση. Βιβλιοθήκες στο μυαλό που αναμένουν επισκέψεις και συζητήσεις των μελών στοχεύοντας στων ανθρώπων τα δικαιώματα, σπάζοντας στερεότυπα και καταργώντας προκαταλήψεις. Κι οι λέξεις να γεμίζουν τις αυλές, βοή ανθρώπων να μιλούν για ιστορίες αλλόκοτες, ιδέες που αιμορραγούν, να μοιράζονται το χθες, να ονειρεύονται μαζί τις αυριανές καλημέρες και οι διακρίσεις να μαστιγώνουν τον αέρα, έτοιμες να εισχωρήσουν στον ιερό χώρο των πολιτισμών. Μα οι κολόνες μιας μονής, στυλοβάτες, κρατούν ακόμη μακριά, πέρα από τα τείχη τα σκοτεινά στοιχειά των αναγνωστών εκείνων των βιβλίων.

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24 Μαρτίου 2013. Η  προετοιμασία γίνεται φωνή και η φωνή κινητήριος δύναμη. Οι ομάδες να δουλεύουν πυρετωδώς. Χαρτιά, μολύβια, χρώματα και σπάγκοι, δημιουργούν πολύτιμο υλικό για να γίνει ένα γεγονός παράξενο! Δικό μας! Ολόδικο μας!

Το βράδυ μας βρίσκει περπατώντας τους ενοχικούς δρόμους της πόλης, μιλώντας με ντόπιους και κάνοντας αφισοκόλληση ως το πρωί διαφημίζοντας το όραμα μας…προωθώντας μια ιδέα!

25 Μαρτίου 2013. Τούτη η μέρα είναι που άνοιξαν τα βιβλία. Ανοιχτές σελίδες και πνεύματα να ξεπηδούν, να πετούν τα γράμματα στο έδαφος, να τρέχουν ξέφρενα στους διαδρόμους του μοναστηριού, να χτυπούν με μανία στις κολόνες να κάνουν το θόρυβο αφόρητο, να θέλουν να εισακουστούν.

Κι έπειτα σιγά-σιγά να επιστρέφουν στα βιβλία τους, να χώνονται κρυφά κάτω από το εξώφυλλο και να σωπαίνουν επιστρέφοντας στη ρουτίνα τους, σε αυτή που ένιωθαν εγκλωβισμένα μα και ασφάλεια! Τελευταίες ώρες αξιολόγησης και να που η φωνή όση κι αν έχει ειλικρίνεια δεν εννοούν να την αποδεχτούν! Γιατί τότε άραγε να σε ρωτούν αφού την απάντηση σου δεν προθυμοποιούνται να ακούσουν;

Τελευταία μέρα. Οι εντυπώσεις πολλές, μύριες, σα τα αστέρια που πασχίζαμε να μετρούμε σαν παιδιά. Καλές, κακές δεν έχει σημασία πια, ασήμαντες θα μείνουν στο χρόνο. Σημασία δίνει η Ανθρώπινη Βιβλιοθήκη στην καρδιά μας κι εκείνη η ανέλπιστη κραυγή των βιβλίων να εισακουστούν! Τούτη είναι η μοίρα μας πια…. Να ανοίξουμε τις σελίδες τους στους ανθρώπους γύρω μας! Να δώσουμε φωνή στις σιωπηλές ιστορίες…

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Φωτεινή Καραμούζη

Συμμετοχή στο Training Course “Human Library – Fostering Dialogue to combat discrimination and promote diversity” 20- 27 Μαρτίου 2013 μαζί με τον Κυριάκο Πατσίδη εκπροσωπώντας τη ΜΚΟ, «Ενωμένες Κοινωνίες των Βαλκανίων».

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