By Jacob Bridenthal
Paros is beautiful, but it’s not solely the architecture or climate that makes it so. It’s the people, community, and culture that complete this millennia-old puzzle. Today, we collectively filmed two interviews, worked on drafting some iconography and motion graphics, and spent tons of time bonding as teammates and friends. Yesterday was similar, as tomorrow and the next day will be the same. I speak only for myself when I say this: I feel that due to the situation of the past few years, many of us missed out on much of the comradery that comes with working in person on projects we’re passionate about. There were many instances where I’d have been better off working on a team these past couple of years, or, better stated, where I’d have been better off had I known my peers. Getting started is the toughest part, and I always felt like getting to know people well enough to work with them on a whim has been a tough mountain to summit. I can’t understate the joy that working with everyone here brings me. Even though we’re halfway across the world, it finally feels like I’m filling in pieces of the community I was missing.
I hate to spoil some of the work we might publish, but it’s hard to get around sharing the stories we’ve heard when they’re so genuine. The people of Paros have been nothing short of intriguing. Vinko, a shop-owner we met in our first couple nights, was born and raised locally but moved away for a time before returning to a home completely in motion towards becoming a tourist hotspot, for better and worse. Though he apologized for his English, he was able to spin a very compelling tale of the more recent history of Paros, and it was wonderful to hear him speak passionately about the past and potential future of his community. Marios, the director at the Alkioni Wildlife Hospital, shared with us that he and his volunteers are constantly at odds with people who are careless with the wildlife around them, leading the hospital to rehabilitate wild animals of all shapes and sizes from around the Cyclades. They work to keep their local ecosystems breathing, alive, and wild and do all they can to educate future generations about the positive impact had by treating the environment with care.
The most important idea I’ve taken away from our work is that our efforts, the people we meet, and the stories we tell are just drops in the bucket. Often, when we splash down and look around, we feel like nothing has changed or that the status quo remains. It’s difficult to inspire change on our own, and at times it can feel like everything we do has little tangible impact. Only through knowing our community more intimately and passion about our work do we begin to realize that the waterline is rising. We’ve only just begun, and I already can’t wait to share what we’ve learned with Marios, Haris, Colin, Nicolas, Bernie, Marta, Eleni, Vinko, and the many more we meet in the days ahead.