I have lost sleep over the last couple of nights because we have been asked to go to the village school today and do a clean-up with the children. Having been out on a recce last night after the storm there was actually not too much litter about - actually we should be proud of the village in that respect! Around the centre the village is clean - it is the approach roads that are the problem. We needed enough to keep the children interested and it needed to be in the vicinity of the school. Then, like most things Cypriot style there had been little or no communication so we were expecting a car crash and it looked like loads of people were going to turn up and we had no idea what we were going to do. I felt a bit sick at the prospect... John and I, Diana and Rob, Klaus, Susan and Sharon from the regular team and Lynda from up the road were assembling at 9.30am together with any parents who thought they might like to come along.
So the whole school was to be involved - a couple of us were to stay with the really little ones and get them to clean around the school grounds whilst the older ones were going outside with staff and parents and cleaning the outside area and up to the new municipal building or a bit further if time allowed and then we were to share some cake and a drink together.
It was all so very organised with the teacher assembling all the children and explaining what what happening and why and two of the children were made to give a little speech - one in Greek and the other in English (delivered by Rabia) these children thanked us for taking and interest in the village and looking after it and promising that now the children would be careful to do the same!
Sharon, Lynda and I stayed behind with the real littlies - oh my god how cute are they and for some reason Savvas the tyre man's little girl decided she loved me to bits and wandered round superglued to my leg with Lola superglued to the other one!
The school grounds were really very clean but at the front there were some fir trees which had dropped their needles so that became the focus for the children who were in competition with one another to collect as much as possible and we soon filled the 20 bags I had taken courtesy of our Muhktar!!
These little children were so tiny the gloves we had were far far too big and John was in hysterics watching them try and get them on - the wrist bit reached right to their elbows - still the kids didn't mind and carried on regardless.
The older children split into two forming a pincer movement - one team lead by John and the other by Rob and Diana - John says they were fabulous and really got into the swing of things marching through the village chanting that Droushia was clean (if only for today!!!). The covered a larger area than we anticipated they would manage but this was led by the teachers so that was brilliant.
We eventually all got back together and sat outside in the school grounds with a drink and cakes and savouries that were brought along by Marianna. Everyone seemed to have enjoyed themselves, the clean-up regulars, the newbies, the parents, the staff and even more importantly the children. We have offered to do it again at some point and that seemed to be met with a very positive response and we were chuffed to received a personal thank-you by way of email from the headmistress Polina.
We all felt extremely proud of the village and the children and we really felt we had been accepted into the village and made to feel an important part of the community - this has made it all worthwhile and we shall continue with the regular clean-ups with a spring in our steps.
We had a quick turn round after the clean up to get down to the Mall to get my poorly phone fixed and to catch up with our No1 Stalkers, Wendy and Bill before they return to the UK for a while. We haven't seen them for a while and it was good to do so. We spent a couple of hours catching up and sharing a bargain bucket of KFC, well John, Bill and I did but Wendy is vegetarian so she opted for a Chinese vegetable curry dish. We have promised each other that when they return we will try and make sure we see each other more regularly.