Volunteers' Experience (Marlena & Kamil)

August 13, 2020

Marlena and Kamil

Blog #1


You will not get here by train. The only ones are exhibited in the park. It’s been many years since they stopped transfering passengers from other railway stations to Kalamata. Instead, you can take a bus or a plane, as we did. Who are “we”? Marlena and Kamil, from Poland. Volunteers, who arrived in Greece exactly one week ago. And this is our common blog text about our first impressions in Kalamata.



We are located in a very bright and spacious apartment in the heart of the city, right next to the main and the most touristic street – Aristomenous. There, you may mostly spot four different kinds of service premises – the one with food (pita, souvlaki, baklava), pharmacy, shoe store and sunglasses shop – not necessarily in that order. What especially might draw your attention is that everything here is written in weird patterns that you probably associate with your math lessons. How was it? Alpha, beta, gamma…omega? No, still need some time to practice. For now we can understand only „burger” and „vegetarian”. That’s enough for the beginners.

During the first days we promised ourselves to go to the beach every day and, fortunately, we can say that we managed to fulfill this task. It was just mesmerising. Imagine a world full of sun. Where the stony beach is so long that even your sight cannot gather it. Lying on the surface of the sea that is so salty, it pulls you up when your body loses its balance. Now listen. Focus on the sound of the soothing waves, sand creaking under your feet and weird noises of seagulls coming from afar. Sometimes you would hear some music from the nearest tavern and laughing people. This symphony of different sounds makes you feel suspiciously relaxed and calm.



You are passed by people who are urgently looking for a sunbed and a umbrella free of cost to get some shade. From three sides surrounded by the mountains. You can see them almost from everywhere. Mysterious, giant rocks, covered with snow in the winter. Now little bit overshadowed, sometimes obscured by the fog. There’s also a river that starts in the mountains and flows through the city. Dried in the summer, might flood the nearest areas in other periods of the year.



It is not unusual to come across a Greek flag or a tree with colorful blossom flowers on every corner here. At first we couldn’t believe that these colors might be that vivid naturally! It must be very lucrative to be a manufacturer of bright paints in Greece – every building here is either white or light colored.



Another one of our common activities was visiting supermarkets in order to get some ingredients for dinners, as we tried to cook something edible (not always tasty, but at least we tried). No worries if you came here but hadn’t taken a suntan lotion with you. You may encounter them at the main aisle in a ton of stores. The same applies to mosquito and… flying cockroach repellents. Rumour has it that there are many of these small insects here, fortunately, we haven’t met any yet.

What is more, we went to the farmer’s market. It’s opened only twice a week – on Wednesday and Saturday. You won’t find a better place to supply your stock with fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs or meat. It’s also the place where you could try fresh feta cheese and kalamatas – brine-cured black olives. Yes, you are right, the name of the city is the same as the olives’.


Near the farmer’s market there’s a castle of Kalamata. This building is situated on top of a hill, so it takes a while to climb there and the sun doesn’t help with it. However, it’s really worth it. You can see the whole city, the mountains and the sealine. Also, while walking up, you will encounter many different floral beauties such as fig or lemon trees and huge cacti. Next to the castle, there’s a very charming, yellow painted, soaring church. You won’t miss it when you get here.


What are we doing on our EVS? Kamil is working in the dog shelter (nearly 800 dogs are kept there) near Kalamata and Marlena is working in the office preparing her podcasts that you could listen to on KANE digital platform. Our sending organization is Semper Avanti and is based in Wrocław, Poland. They organize a lot of different projects and thanks to them right now we are able to be in Greece. They promote tolerance and intercultural dialogue in Poland.


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