Environmental project in Agros, Cyprus
August 23rd to August 31st 2019
This was my second exchange this year and ever, my last was also typed up and was in Poland in April. This project was very different with a few similarities however I felt at home very quickly which is different from the Poland exchange but I feel that was only because Poland was my first project. We stayed in Agros which is in the Troodos mountain range. Me and the rest of the UK team flew from Birmingham airport to Paphos airport and arrived around 9pm Cypriot time, I immediately realised the humidity and warmth, it felt like I had dived into a sweat lodge. We waited for the minibus to pick us up and take us to Agros and not long after we were on the roads driving towards Agros. We where dropped off at a park where there was a local event with free drinks and some delicious food. We stayed for a while, meeting a couple members of the Romanian team and taking some photographs. We then went back to on the minibus and drove to the hostel. We where shown our rooms and settled in.
I awoke the next day and the first thing I saw out of the window was this amazingly beautiful view of Agros houses on the sides of the mountains, this is the first proper mountain side village I have seen and I was in awe nearly every time I saw such a view. I got ready and wandered downstairs and looked at breakfast, this consisted of hard bread, bad cheese and pretty grim ham however I did have ham for the first 3 days until I noticed the smell which put me off of it. Overall apart from the breakfast the food was absolutely the best and I wish we had more Cypriot and Greek restaurants in the UK, especially for the meats and pita which was near heavenly. The first day was mostly spent getting to know everyone’s names and basic introductions. We had a few workshops and energisers to get to know each other’s names and also to get ready for the day. There where 7 countries represented by teams of roughly 5, these countries consisted Italy, Poland, Estonia, Romania, UK, Czech Republic and Cyprus. My favourite thing about projects/exchanges are the fact I get to meet and befriend multiple people from different cultures and countries. This is made easier by the fact that most people who attend are all of the same or similar mind sets when it comes to the experience. We engaged in many workshops throughout the week that focused on environment and sustainability. I helped to facilitate one of the workshops led by UK group leader Luke Spate (who is also a PSHE/Support mentor at LAMP).
Also notable things outside of Agros that we did included visiting Nicosia and Limassol, Nicosia being the capital and the only divided capital in the world in the world (sadly because of the Turkish invasion of 1974, 14 years after Cyprus got independence from England). In Limassol we visited a castle then had lunch at pizza hut followed by free time. I spent my free time with 3 of the 4 other members of the UK team and 1 of the Estonian team were we looked for a burger place that turned out not to be open so we went to KFC. Then we headed to the beach and stayed there a while. Nearer the end of our free time in Limassol me and 1 of the other members of the UK team went to a shisha café on the beach front. It was my first time in a shisha café and I can say that the café was a very nice setup and was not only smart and tidy but also a lot cooler than the temperature outside. We then met up at the meetup point and got the coach back to Agros. In Nicosia we visited a museum/castle then went to lunch at a local restaurant which had the absolute best food of my time on the project in Cyprus (so far) which was enjoyed immensely by everyone. Then we had free time, I spent my time relaxing with different groups around the shisha cafes. I then went into a clothing shop and bought a shirt which said large but was more like a UK extra small which nearly fit but was just a bit too short. Then I got a frappe at a shisha café which was better than any other I have had before. When I finished that I went with a member of the project into some clothes shops to help pick her out some clothes which was not as boring as I expected (didn’t feel like I was being dragged around shopping like I’m used to) then I went with a member of the Czech team to a shop which was towards the border of the occupied side to buy some snacks and drinks, I ended up buying a bottle of water for aforementioned clothes shopper which she was very grateful for since it was a particularly warm day. We also visited the Troodos national park and found out not only about the conservation projects but also about ow Cyprus and the mountains of Cyprus were formed.