Project For the Elderly
In March, April, May and September on 2005 elderly people from Paxos, Pergine Valdarno and Wijk aan Zee met each other.
The Arca care- organization from Florence took the initiative and succeeded in finding EU money for the project "Anchise" that provides in exchanges of elderly people.
The Paxos presentation at the ANCHISE Project For the Elderly
The Paxos group consisted mainly of women and only 2 men. Escorting us was also Miss Maria Vrahoriti as the Municipality's representative. We arrived in Florence in the evening of the 17nth of March, feeling exhausted, after a 26 hours trip due to various strikes both in Greece and Italy. After an unsuccessful attempt to make our presentation the next morning, during the first Anchise session due to technical reasons, my group left disappointed and a bit embarrassed. We managed to do better the last day of works.
Bearing in mind that the subjects the Paxos group deal with during the 60 seminar hours are:
• better use of medicine,
• alternative treatment methods,
• improvement of physical condition,
• exploring ways of smoothly passing into third age.
We decided that the first part of our presentation as a team would consist of snap shots of every participant during their every day chores, with members of their family, with their pets, at home, at work etc. Each photo was accompanied by a short comment by their tutor consisting either of personal life stories, hobbies, hopes etc. either of other personal information in an effort to demonstrate these individuals' way of life on the island through their own life time.
The second part of our presentation was a 15 minutes amateur video of the group playing and trying to teach two old games they themselves played as children to school children of today. The materials used for the particular games were only stones and 2 sticks made of olive wood. During the video presentation we explained the Venetian and English origins of both games and their rules.
That part of our presentation aimed to show how very active and full of life these Paxiots are in their mature age; how they can still have strong motivation to win in everything they undertake; to demonstrate that life-long relationships still exist among them despite misunderstandings, problems, time or distance that probably have come between them; that the generations' gap can diminish, if we make an effort to understand and come closer to one another. From our audience's reaction that morning we felt we had succeeded.
"Work and Play" during the Exchange Visits for the Anchise Project The Paxiots impressions of a 5 days trip to Florence.
We were stupefied by the enormous dimensions of the Dome in the center of the city and the beauty of river Arno by night. We were surprised by the amount of tourists walking the city all day and most of all night. We admired the historical buildings surrounding us, the works of art in the city's streets and in the various museums, the incredibly big and well kept Boboli gardens, the luxurious Palazzo Pitti. We enjoyed the comfortable taxi drives around the city and felt at home with the city's traffic, chaotic but somehow almost silent on the stone paved streets of the Firenze historical center. We tasted home made ravioli, the seemingly raw but very tasty bisteca fiorentina, lovely deserts accompanied by Vincanto wine. We sipped different types of Chianti. We missed the kind employees at the Columbus Hotel, who were always ready to meet our every need.
We mostly enjoyed the kindness and warmth of our Arca hosts, who had planned our stay in a most efficient way; the eagerness of the citizens of Pergine Valdarno to show us their work as a group for the Anchise project but most of all to show us around their own village and update us to the social and financial situation of Tuscany concerning the elderly; the tenacity with which the Dutch group members kept talking openly to each other about personal painful life experiences after each hotel-dinner, creating an unbreakable bond between each other.
The 8 Paxiot Anchise participants shared with the Pergine and the Wijk aan Zee groups the anxiety of presenting their team effort in the best possible way. The language barriers vanished from the first meeting. All 24 of them realized during these 3 morning sessions that although each group handled a completely different issue, using a different method of approach to the everyday problems of the elderly, they all ended at the same conclusion. Acknowledging their problems is the first step towards solving them.