It is Sunday afternoon in Aigina. We have already been to church, had coffee and some breakfast by the harbor, watched the traditional Ephiphany celebration, enjoyed our favorite gyro lunch, and a little downtime before heading back out to watch more of the town’s celebrations.
Yesterday was a day of settling in and concentrating more on some of our class work and visits with speakers. No blog post for me, as I spent time catching up on grading all the quizzes students have been taking on our readings. Our course is on our responsibility in the global community at corporate, community, and personal levels. We are reading Wayne Visser’s “The Age of Responsibility:CSR 2.0 and the New DNA of Business” in addition to sections of “Leadership for a Better World” by Komives and Wagner. All our activities will fall under one of 4 categories: Cultural Immersion, Community and Personal Responsibility, Global Responsibility, or Sustainability and the Impact of Global Issues on the Local Environment.
Yesterday after our walk around town…..
We visited with Ilias Kokkinellis of the group “Aegina Rising.” He is working with a group of Aigina residents to bring about changes in the community and address some of the economic pressures being felt by many. We will get to see one of his projects in action, the Christmas tree of wishes. The town made a wooden Christmas tree where they hung glass bottles containing their wishes. These bottles will be symbolically tossed to sea in a ceremony we will watch this evening. This is part of the group’s desire to bring hope and unity to the community.
The group is also actively involved in preserving and sharing local seeds. The plans are to work on some form of community gardening. One of our activities this week may work toward that effort, but we’ll tell you more about that later. Volunteering, that we take for granted, has not been a traditional part of the Greek community. The economic challenges is driving an increase in this type of activism. The groups are learning new ways of promoting and organizing as they try and generate support for community service. It was a good discussion and set the stage for our time here.
Of course we have to update you on food adventures. Some things we won’t be ordering again….small fried fish.
Gyros, though, seem to be the go to food. At 1.80 E each the students are regulars at the stand just a block from the apartments.
With today being Ephiphany we wanted to experience some of the traditional Greek religious ceremonies. We attended part of a Greek Orthodox church service. Of course we really weren’t aware of all the rituals but we were welcomed and coached by some. We entered and exited as discretely as 12 Americans can when the only room is at the front of the church. The students made me proud with the respect they showed for the service. After church we had some conversation and coffee then watched another ceremony at the harbor. The priests led a procession from the church to the harbor area where there is a brief ceremony which includes releasing a dove and tossing a cross into the harbor. The cross is then retrieved by swimmers. It was an event to see and it seemed like the whole town turned out for it.
So now a little downtime as I complete more grading and students continuing their reading in preparation for events tomorrow. The weather has turned colder and rain seems to be in the forecast, but I think all enjoyed quiet afternoon to recharge.