I am Athinodoros Georgiou from Tilleria, lover of this place, of Cyprus, of tradition. I have been involved since my childhood with Cypriot handicrafts, crafts and in general everything related to our tradition. This includes our customs, traditions, crafts, shows, and in general to promote our folk culture. What makes me more active is my love for this place, love for culture, love for all that we have been left and made us humans, and so we continue to give the message that there are still people that love this place.
There may not be any merit in us, we may not have the financial means that some other individuals have to promote and showcase all of this but through some ‘poor’ means like Facebook, photography, some small videos and so on we can showcase this beautiful world. The world of Cyprus. These invisible heroes who at times we say that they have honored this place through their works, their crafts, their songs, their poems, and most of all they have not found someone to give them the step to continue, because until I see all this unfairness from someone, I say that he should have given a step to this one, but he didn’t. So, I’m trying with the little means I have to give the message below, that there are these people, that there are these talents/diamonds that we have in this place that unfortunately no one knows and recognizes.
When the first lockdown happened we were in Paphos as a family, because in Nicosia you understand that everyone is independent with their house and so on, in the village we were with the family. So the idea came during the lockdown to do some little devotions in churches and monasteries, mostly in Paphos to take pictures. Through the internet we found information about the building, the wall paintings, or different descriptions of the church. So I was given the opportunity to ‘sneak’ into the church to take pictures of the inside, outside, some of the main features and so I found information from a friend, writing the text and sending it, to record it on messenger and I send it to my friend Marios to edit it by playing some music where it looks beautiful and so I put the photos in the series at the time of the reading and so we made some videos and through them many Facebook friends got to know some churches that we have in Paphos that they didn’t know. In march when I came to Nicosia on May 1st, last year, I said that since there is no appreciation of our tradition, we will have to do something to promote our Cypriot songs. Initially we were very formal with the programs and so on and so we had a great response and we started slowly with a few people and after a lot of sharing, the group grew. What I’m particularly happy about is that this voice of tradition has reached the ends of the earth, from Australia, to England, and in New Zealand to all this world.
The goal, was to pass on this rich wealth that we have, these diamonds, these songs that we have close to us and when you find that the love of the world is flaring up and growing, it gives you the moral gratification to go on and do what you love, because this love is not only yours and the world’s. Along the way I made a small wooden construction that I placed my computer, with 2 speakers and we did the live until today via my mobile phone. We had a lot of difficulties, such as unemployment due to covid, because they had closed the training courses and so there was no money, where you want to do things, but you don’t have the financial fortune. We’re trying to do what we can with the few resources we have to put out a good quality of the outside world, i.e., audio.
The positive effect
The coronavirus has affected everyone, some have been pinned down and others have been lifted up. We have been pinned down. Now professionally with the courses, the events, the festivals, we understand that they are almost finished, but now after a year and a half they are slowly starting. So, we are trying as much as we can with the training when I was unemployed then I worked at the Ministry of Health and so a part of Athenodoros half of our life is now there. So you try to create if you have the time, and the understanding to continue what you are doing. The main thing I see is that the inactivity, the indifference of what is happening today, the disregard from people led us to stop and look for other solutions. Is it not just to say we support or we want young people to get involved and many times I wonder if we are being fooled? So I’m one who’s involved in it but I’ve had no help from anybody, and so they want other young people, other people to be involved. Support first those we have and then bring other people in to learn. I was influenced by covid both creatively and traditionally because due to the crisis, you don’t have the opportunity to go and enrich your knowledge. That’s all that Athinodoros has today that he will leave behind.
The message I would like to send is if we love our place our tradition regardless of the pandemic or the situations that have come to us to help our country to overcome this exclusion, social exclusion that is a big problem in our place, because it is. We have been excluded for a long time and through the pandemic we have been alienated, we have lost the contact of our relatives, we have lost the most important thing for me “the word of man”, that is to say we are lost.
Many times, we say, “Hey, man, let’s meet up for coffee,” but is it that easy? The good thing is that we have to find ways to unite the world, for the world to love each other, to embrace each other and not have competition between us. Because the ‘great people’ of the world don’t want us to be loved, they don’t want to see the world create things, because the psychological warfare in this world is growing.