Anne had been coughing a lot on Sunday, and by evening she had a pretty bad cold. so she stayed at the hotel on Monday, although she would have merely sat in the kindergarten room observing in Greek that day. A day of rest really helped, as well as a good night's sleep aided by medication, and by Wednesday, she was quite well except for an occasional coughing fit. Tom started his cold last Thursday and is taking longer to get over it, but is feeling much better now.
Tuesday was a public holiday, May Day, where the women gather flowers - daisies- and sew them into garlands which they wear. (These are burned on St. John's Day later.) So it is a big Greek party day. Many people in our group traveled that day to other parts of Crete, but we were just not feeling well and had a good rest.
Anne went to Rogthia village school on Wednesday. (The only way to even approximate saying the name of that town right is pretend that you are trying to throw up when you say the "gth" part of "Rogthia", with the accent on the last syllable. We also have concluded that to pronounce Greek more correctly, you have to pretend you are a B-grade movie actor and over-do on the words, using your hands, and putting the accent on the last syllable. Greeks can also get very loud and emotional when they talk.) At Rogthia school, Anne went to all five English classes with Evi, the English teacher and did quite a bit with the classes, including playing some songs from her iPod, with speakers, such as "Yellow Submarine", and Celine Dion singing the song from "Titanic". The kids were supposed to try to hear English words and write down what they recognized. This was the last day for her at the school, and she felt both accomplished and sad that it was over.
On Thursday, Anne had chosen not to go to another school for the last two days, based on a similar experience in the Cook Islands, so she took the bus into town, Iraklio, and explored some more. This involved getting lost a few times. Street signs are rare, and most shop signs, etc are in Greek alphabet. Therefore, one has to look at such a sign for awhile and sound it out with the Greek letters, and see if that matches the street or shop name transliterated into our alphabet. She probably walked several kilometers. Having found one recommended shop right near the bus stop, she went back there and bought some handwoven table cloths, made in Crete. (Weavers take note - these are extremely fine threads, probably 60 ends per inch, with designs in another color woven in.) That evening, we had thank-you reception for the teachers, at our hotel, with coffee and cookies. it was nice to meet some of the other teachers.
Tom has been the "story teller" in his daycare/kindergarten classes (there are 5 of these classes a day). He has concentrated on the number 3 since the little ones have reached this in their counting lessons. So the stories have been the "Three Billy Goats Gruff," "The Three Sillies," and "The Three Little Pigs." Tom tells the story one day and the next day the children act it out. His English speaking goal is to have the children be able to say, "Once upon a time, and They live happily ever after." This way the children help tell the story. The teacher translates the English for these little children who have not had any lessons in English (they start English in 3rd grade).
One of the classes did such a good job of acting the Three Little Pigs, that Tom said he would bring his movie camera in the next day and make a movie of the play. So, on Thursday, he filmed the children doing the Three Little Pigs and edited it in the afternoon with the premier showing at the thank-you reception. This video is a bit too long (5 minutes) for our travel web site, but if you want to see it we can send you a DVD when we get back. You will especially appreciate the wolf character. Another class made a wonderful poster of the Three Pigs Story which Tom incorporated into the video. We have posted some stills from the movie.
On Friday, Anne took the bus into Iraklio again, and knowing her way around better, went to a religious icon museum (no photos allowed), and the Historical Museum of Crete. The latter had interesting exhibits about the history of Crete - several eras from early Byzantine, early Arabic, later Byzantine, Venetian, Turks, and independence as part of Greece. That was all good, but the the third floor had textiles - something Anne really loves! This inspired her to visit the Eva Grimm shop which collects and sells old and antique woven textiles of Crete, many of which were beyond her means, but a textile-lover's paradise! She did choose three and is very happy to have such beautiful items that are authentic.
Tom sadly said "yia sas" or Goodby in Greek to his little students. They all waved to him and blew him kisses as he left. He finished the story of the Three Sillies and he was pleased that these little 3 to 5 year-olds learned to say "Once upon a time and they lived happily ever after" in English. It is really just a small start, but as more Global Volunteers visit Crete, a few more words will be added to their vocabulary.