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WE ARE ALL SET FOR AUGUST 2019. IT’S TOO EARLY TO KNOW IF WE WILL NEED HELP AFTER AUGUST, BUT FEEL FREE TO CONTACT US IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN VOLUNTEERING FROM SEPTEMBER 2019-DECEMBER 2019 AND WE WILL SEE. THANK YOU!
Hello! We (Kostas & Anna) are a family of 6 (including our dog Tsarlie and cat Muzi, plus a handful of uncounted stray cats & dogs that we unofficially take care of) living above our bakery in the beautiful little village of Zitsa (population 500) in the northwest mountains of Greece. We have 2 littles - Kiki who will be 4 at the end of Oct., and Thaleia who was born Apr. 24th, 2019. We would like help 1) caring for the kids, and 2) helping us clean up the Zitsa library that we own and manage (link to library website: . ).
Kiki is an incredibly fun, silly, smart little creature and we have no doubt you will fall in love with her, as most people who meet her do :) Of course, she is a toddler now, so she also has her strong opinions every now and then! Thaleia’s personality is just starting to shine through and she is very sweet and calm and easy to take care of. Childcare duties would mostly entail playing with Kiki (arts & crafts, taking her to the park, playing card games, etc.) and acting as a second pair of hands for Anna. You would not have to change diapers if you did not want to!
However, beyond the child care, there is always a lot going on in our life, so if you wanted to, you could also help in our bakery, taking care of our pets, working in our garden, helping in the bookshop, etc. There is never a shortage of interesting things to do!
Kostas is the baker of the village - his family has been running the only bakery here for about 25 years and he took over from his father about 20 years ago. Kostas' mother helps him in the bakery, and before having the baby, Anna worked full-time alongside her husband as his assistant baker. Kostas & Anna met via Couchsuring a little over 9 years ago, but it was not love at first sight! After meeting for only 1 day, they got to know each other, and fall in love, slowly, via texting, e-mail, instant messaging and Skype while living 7 time zones apart for 8 months. But when they met each other in person again, it WAS love at first sight and a week later Anna agreed to leave her life in the US to follow her heart. She was an environmental lawyer there, but finds life in a village much more appealing (especially with how connected the world is nowadays!).
And 2 1/2 years after moving here to Zitsa, Anna opened the first bookshop in the village (the bookshop has been closed for a few months and is in the process of being moved to a new, bigger space where it will be re-opened as a free private library and creative space). The bookshop was created to be a Literary & Culteral Community Center and many Workaway volunteers have spent time there in the past few years.
We have a passion for meeting new people and love hosting travelers in their home. Our family has a vineyard from which we make our own wine, as well as a 200-sheep farm (and we are in the process of building a Tiny House on the farm). The milk from the sheep is used to make cheese, yogurt, and a traditional pasta, and then a lot of the milk is also sold to a diary company in the city of Ioannina about 25 kilometers away. But one of our favorite activities is sitting around with new friends, sharing fresh bread, homemade wine and cheese, and talking about life. We love hearing what people's passions are, as well as sharing stories of our own. We believe life is beautiful and challenging and interesting and meant to be full of love.
Come join us and explore the life here!!
Babysitting / child care
Cooking / shopping
Help in the house
As mentioned, child care is the primary help we need. We would like someone who can help watch our little ones for 2-3 hours in the morning, and 1-2 hours in the afternoon, 5 days a week (We are flexible as to which days of the week). Responsibilities would include playing (we bring her to the bakery every day and let her explore and make big messes, so it's not hard to have fun playing with her!), sitting and eating a meal or snack with her each day (and preparing a small meals for her), taking her outside for walks or to the park and, if English is NOT your native language, we would love for you to talk to her in your language to expand her language skills. She is English and Greek bilingual - she is slowly increasing her vocabulary day by day and she understand almost EVERYTHING (which makes life difficult now because we can't talk about her in front of her!).
We could also always use help around our home and bakery - we have a dog who needs to be walked a few times a day and we have a garden that needs tending. A lot of these things we can do together. There is also lots to do in our home and in the bakery which is a very fun place to be as it is the heart of the village.
English, Greek, a little French
Volunteers would stay in the library! It is a very large space, though the pull-out couch bed is a little small for 2 people. There is also the option of using our large inflatable bed. The library has 2 bathrooms with hot and cold water. Out the back door is a small garden with a table & chairs and some flowers - a really nice place to sit and relax. There is no place to cook in the library but our home kitchen is completely open to volunteers. There is no WiFi in the library but there is a desktop computer that is connected to the internet. There is WiFi in our home and the bakery which volunteers can also use any time that we are not sleeping. Along with the room, we will provide a big family lunch every afternoon around 2:30 (Kostas' mother is an amazing cook and can make any traditional Greek dish! Kostas & Anna are pescatarians (vegetarians who eat fish) but do not mind others eating meat. There is fresh bread and other baked good every day, as well as some of our home-made wine (like most families in the village, we have our own vineyard) and cheese (Kostas' mother makes feta and yogurt from the milk of our sheep - we have a farm with about 200 sheep). Generally breakfast for volunteers is whatever they want from the bakery in the morning. Lunch is the big meal of the day, and dinners together sometimes happen, but sometimes it is just the volunteers making something for themselves or finding leftovers in the bakery from the day. Anna eats dinner after putting Kiki to bed each night, around 9pm, so volunteers can eat with her or eat earlier.
As mentioned, Zitsa is an amazing place. In the village itself, we have a couple of markets where you can find fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, basic home goods, and treats. The village also has some cafes and restaurants, a spectacular free art gallery, a small gym with machines and free weights, schools, a regional autism center, and a famous monastery. In mid-Aug. there is the Zitsa wine festival which is known throughout Greece.
Zitsa is about 3 1/2 hours from Thessaloniki by bus, and about 6 from Athens. The west coast and beaches are a little over an hour away. The closest city is Ioannina, which is 25 kilometers. There are 4 buses to Ioannina every day except weekends (so no buses on Sat. or Sun.), though it is usually quite easy to hitch or find a local who can give a ride. The Ioannina airport has also recently started having international flights so it’s possible to fly right into Ioannina now instead of flying to Athens or Thessaloniki first.
Nearby is also the famous region of Zagorohoria, and not far is the world-famous Meteora.
Zitsa is a perfect place for an artist looking for a retreat in a quiet, beautiful setting, an outdoor adventurer looking for new places to explore, or someone interesting in learning intimately about a new culture!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week