Monday, October 17, 2016

Little Vietnam in Greece

When I was picturing my first week in Greece I did not imagine that I’d be sitting in an apartment, tucking into homemade Vietnamese soup and daydreaming about Ho Chi Minh City. However yesterday that was exactly how I spent my evening.

As a volunteer with K. A. N. E. I have been lucky enough to meet Thanh Vy, who works for SJ Vietnam (Solidarités Jeunesses Vietnam), an international youth NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation). Vy has spent the last two weeks job shadowing at K. A. N. E. – learning about the organisation, sharing information, ideas and good practice.

Vy very kindly invited me and another guest over to her apartment that she is staying in to sample some Vietnamese cuisine. Vy’s hometown is Quang Nam Province (near Da Nang City) and this is where the food comes from.

Below are some photographs and descriptions of the delicious chicken noodle soup we ate.

Here you can see the chicken, onions, pepper, chili, turmeric. The onions, chili and fresh turmeric are chopped, mashed together with oil and then added to chopped chicken. They are left to marinate for 15 minutes before cooking.

Vy cooking the onion chili chicken mixture. This is fried in oil and then tossed with chopsticks in the pan. The mixture is then turned into a soup by adding a little water and cooking it some more.

The noodles are cooked in a pan with water. Usually rice noodles are used but we made do with egg noodles this time.

Salad. The salad is eaten with the soup. It is usually made up of lettuce, coriander, banana flower and lime (we used some local tomatoes and gave it a Mediterranean twist!). The lettuce leaves are washed two or three times with care.

The chicken bones are used as well, they are cooked in a pan to make a flavoursome broth. This water is then added to the chicken mixture.

“Oi ngon qua!” as they say in Vietnam – yummy! A delicious combination of warm soup and refreshing salad.
In Vietnam annatto seed oil and fish sauce, garlic and chili mashed are added at the end to season the dish. 

After eating we drank some rice wine made by Vy’s mother! This is made using sticky rice and yeast over the course of a couple of months.

I also learned my first few facts about Vietnam. Hanoi is the capital but
Ho Chi Minh City is the biggest city.

Some people tend to live in apartments or modern buildings but in the province Vy hails from they 

only have traditional Vietnamese houses. In fact it is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The most important fact I learnt, however, was that Vietnames people are incredibly kind and hospitable!


Monday, October 10, 2016


         It was a lovely day in October, the sun was shining above the palm trees of Kalamata and many would say it was still summer (but not the Greeks, the 24  ͦC sea is too cold for them). Our lovely Dutch volunteer Rosa had just turned 18 and everyone knew that we would mark it on that day. However, she did not expect some plans that were secretly being devised in the apartments... cakes, cookies, drinks, a present, a birthday card... all were being cleverly prepared between our scheduled meetings that day.
As the sun set and our meeting came to an end, all of the EVS volunteers gathered in the apartment. When the last lines on the birthday card were written, the candles on the cake were lit and the lights went out. A strapping young fellow brought in the cake, the cook himself - Oskar. Of course, one cake was not enough so we had two! Look at that happiness on her face!

A job well done indeed.
Singing followed (because, what is a birthday party without singing?). Rosa heard „happy birthday“ in not less than seven languages – english, french, dutch, spanish, german, croatian and even moroccan! How crazily wonderful is that! :D The candles were blown out and we hope that her wish will come true! Then a pair of brave volunteers equipped with sharp knives carefully cut through the scrumptious layers of cake. Look at those steady hands:

Soon, Rosa opened her present and read the card, such sweet moments... Everyone had mouths full of cake and drinks started coming. Apart from that, we had a box of amazing cookies that were probably the biggest cookies I've ever seen! Sadly, we're lacking a picture of them as your reporter was not quick enough, but hopefully she will have another opportunity for that. The time came to put away the camera away and enjoy. We had a lovely time talking and hanging out late into the night...

Γειά σας everyone! My name is Molly and I come from the UK. I've moved here from a city called Bristol in England.
 I am going to be working in K.A.N.E.'s office. I'll be helping with the programming, development and evaluation of activities. I'll also be helping out in the Youth Centre and running an English Conversation workshop. 
  I love cooking, watching films and doing yoga. I also really enjoy helping people to connect with their local history. Before I came here I was working in museums and archives for many years.
I am really excited to be in Kalamata and I feel very lucky to be here working as an EVS volunteer.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Aroa from Spain

Hi ! My name is Aroa, I'm from Madrid in Spain but I live in Màlaga, the south of Spain. In Spain I'm working in a secondary school for dance, I'm the teacher for hip-hop, funks, break dance and classic for teens. I have 18 years and I love dance, photography and watch movies with my friends.

Hi ! I'm Oscar, I'm from Spain, I live in Màlaga, so close to Africa. I love the fashion world and I worked as organiser and teacher of modeling in lot of fashion shows. I'm an animal lover, I have a tiny dog called Fredy. Music is very important in my life, I'm listening music every time. I like traveling every time I can, I think exploring the world is the most interestng in your life.

Arthur from France !

Hello, my name is Arthur, I'm coming from France.
I will stay in Kalamata for a 12 months EVS, working at K.A.N.E office. I will animate some workshops here and participate in media communication. I'm glad to be here and experiment the greek way of life.


Greetings dear readers! Tea is my name and art is my game. You'll be able to see me around Kalamata through the next nine months of my EVS. I came from Croatia and apart from Croatian lessons I will be leading the Creative arts workshops in the youth centre where we will be doing different kinds of creative projects. Hopefully, I will learn a lot of new things during my stay here and have a chance to share my skills with you. When I go back home, I will be finishing my studies at the university (Art history and Indology). Can't wait to meet all of you and I hope we'll create wonderful artsy things together!

Monday, October 3, 2016


Hi to everyone !
A week after my arrival in Kalamata we (the new EVS volunteers) had the opportunity to go on a boat trip with Dimitris Papastathopoulos, Oskar's mentor. We left Kalamata on friday afternoon and we came back on sunday around 10pm.

 Enjoying the sun ! 

Our dear captain =) 

The crew was : Renée, Rosa, Ruya, Dimitris, Sara, Oskar and myself ! We planned the trip together with the help of Dimitris : we choose to go towards Methoni. 

First day we spend in Koroni, a small city 3h to 4h (in boat) away from Kalamata. This city is known for his lovely monastery. From it, you can have a fabulous view of the city, the sea and the mountains on the background. The nuns are really nice, this is a beautiful place to visit.

 We eat at a very cheap restaurant, around 10 euros for a menu with starter, main course and dessert) and it was delicious ! We slept on the boat for the first time that night ! Sara and I slept on the bridge, it was really beautiful. The bars were a bit noisy but we slept very well ! 

The second day we went in a beautiful beach in the morning where we spend a good part of the day, then we left for Finikouta, a small and very cute village. On the way there we caught our first fish 
then a second one ! It was very educational to learn how to kill it and to clean it ! 

We stayed to sleep there again and we asked a restaurant if they can cook ours fishs. They did and it was again a very good meal ! After exploring the city and swim a bit we went to bed, but this time inside the boat. 

Sunday morning, we decided to go to Methoni for lunch and for exploring a bit the castle because he close at 3pm which is very early. So we went there and it was really beautiful and really big !


After that we went to a deserted island, Sapientza, and we stayed here until 4 pm when it was time to go back in Kalamata. This island is savage and we have seen savage sheep, they weren't at all afraid of us but we were ! ^^ We enjoyed our stay there because it's one of the most beautiful beach I've seen. 

On the way back to Kalamata we also grabed a new fish ! Even if the journey back was long (5h) we enjoyed the sunset and the boat trip. 
Everyone loved this trip, it help us to know each other better and to become really good friend !

Thanks again to Dimitris !