THE MAZI DIARY
In Spring 2018, two of our current board members went on vacation in Lentas and the region. Once again, as so often. Only this time, after the return flight, a certain amount of irritation arose in both. It was not the first time that they had been confronted with the multifaceted everyday life that hid behind the great holiday backdrop in the south of Crete. Whereby there could be no question of concealment, if one just looked a little closer and listened. The fact is, the crisis has more grip on Greece than ever. Despite all the protestations of many politicians in the country and especially in the EU.
One thing resulted in the other. Enjoying the beauty of the region and the amazing hospitality was one thing. But could not or should not there be a little bit more? What could be done to specifically support this region and its inhabitants?
Again, one thing resulted in the other. Where was the open Europe of the many regions and cultures? In the maxims and directives from Brussels certainly not! That could only develop directly from below, with the many people directly and grow. Grassroots principle is called something like that. Not only in exchange and in mutual solidarity. Also in the decision to take matters into their own hands, to progressively fight for the livelihoods that are denied more and more from above. Be it in an effort to secure a sufficient livelihood through decent work. Be it in the mindfulness of the environment, for the other, the community and communality par excellence. Only together can problems be solved – beyond borders. As Che Guevara said so beautifully, solidarity is the tenderness of peoples.
In short, the seed had risen with the two tourists.
The club foundation
Quickly a group of more than a dozen Crete and Greece lovers were together. A kind solidarity association should develop (of which there were already some in Germany). This one based in Wuppertal, but open to members from other cities and regions of the Republic. The concept was diligently worked out – which can now be viewed on the MAZI website in all its many facets. Not infrequently annoyed the many bureaucratic hurdles noted until a club entry and especially the status of charitable status could be achieved. In short, at the beginning of 2019, the cow was off the ice or all in green cloth. The MAZI e.V. stood, officially and draped with everything that was necessary and good. An insight remains nevertheless: Without the energetic assistance and support of many people in that same region, this would not have been possible.
Many months of exchange and discussion
A fundamental thing has occupied us from the beginning. We knew that we could not just turn up in southern Crete and say, here we are, let’s do it! That would have nolens volens the aftertaste of a demotion of the local people to victims with it.
But we were lucky. We knew about a village initiative in a neighboring community of Lentas. Two or three years ago, we had talked to one of the initiators about it. So there were already activities and commitment that you could build on. And even a non-profit association, just that of Tsigounas (more on the website under the menu item Projects). Lo and behold, there was even more movement, other clubs. As there are: Volunteer fire department / environmental protection for the Asterousia mountains right on the coast. And the cultural club Miamou / Lentas, which among other things fights for the rehabilitation of a mountain village nearby. Then we also found what concerns independent cooperatives in the agricultural sector. Collective, living and engaging on the grassroots principle, with bio-organic cultivation (see also the website).
Now it was simply impossible to do all this by phone and / or by mail. One of our club founders flew to Crete in July and then in September for one week each. He came across a lot of interest and even more loving and responsive people. The basis was thus laid: support of the clubs and their contents. But also the desire for exchange and learning from each other. After joint activities and events. All of this has been incorporated into the MAZI website, as it is intended to determine our future work.
First concrete activities
Another and longer stay of two of our founding members has led to practical activities. The website has been enhanced by an active platform for mutual communication and cooperation (marketplace and forum). An extensive start-up project in late May / early June (Action Week Miamou) is now being prepared.
Likewise, the “kick-off” for our region here in Germany is also currently pending. After all, we want the club to know that as many people as possible are engaging with us and the people of Crete. And exchange yourself. There are many smaller and larger opportunities that we want to convey in different ways. This is our next big task.
At the beginning of March, after a few early spring days here in Germany
The first active project (mountain village Miamou) is “staged”. The core group is ready, flights and accommodations are made clear, now we have to, together with our Cretan friends, to think about other things For example about the common festivity, because that should of course also be a great thing.
In this context we were very happy about some things we did not necessarily expect so quickly and comprehensively. First of all, there may still be a few volunteers from our region as well as from other parts of Germany. There is still a lot in the balance. The support in southern Crete, for example in finding cheap accommodation, was huge. Our club and the website were more than kindly noted. Then the Cretan Association “Volunteer Firefighters” at its annual general meeting recently, devoted a lot of space to MAZI and our joint activities. The second planned action week at the end of October on the subject of water issues was also dealt with in detail. Preparations are already underway here, including the University of Crete.
Our publicity activities here in the region are starting to get rolling. There will be a lot of things to do by End of May, which we will of course report on.
Is continued at irregular intervals …