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The experiences I gained during the 23 days in Zakynthos and the ARCHELON voluntary program

The experiences I gained during the 23 days in Zakynthos and the ARCHELON voluntary program

Based on the experience I had all this time while I was in Zakynthos, in the ARCHELON program, I would like to describe to you some of the aspects of all this venture that deals with sea turtles, as well as I can.
Let me start with the excellent organization of the program, in the area where we stayed at, which was in Kalamaki, a beautiful place in Zakynthos. I believe that when someone is trying to find themselves, the advice I would give them would be to participate in a program like this. An important part of this unforgettable experience of mine, were the people I spent 23 days with. The organizers and the volunteers were, in one word, "wonderful". It is hard to find passionate and sensitive people, who would give everything for what they believe in. They all inspired me in a different way. I reckon that this organization made all us Greeks proud, because it is held in Greece and its ultimate goal is to protect an endangered species, the Caretta-Caretta sea turtle.

In conclusion, I would like to describe one of the most unforgettable memories I have from this experience. I remember the funny talks we had with the two project managers, Gonzo and Spiros and with Adam the volunteer, at 3am, while waiting for a turtle to appear on Sekania beach, which is protected and closed to the public. It is also one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen.

I also don't forget how moved I felt when I found and unburied my first nest, in Emma's, Mia's and Dakota's group. It is hard for me to describe my feelings on that moment, but I can say for sure that I have never felt like this before. It is thrilling to realize that nature has a plan for everything and that, when people open up to experiences like this, they can utterly change them.

I won't forget Jo's dance and Rike's vigor; the two project coordinators who taught me so much, so I could trust myself while being around with the turtles, and who, from the very beginning, made me feel comfortable when I was at the beach.

Finally, I would like to greatly thank the manager of the ARCHELON organization, for the experience he and the program offered me, so I could return to Preveza as a completely different person, feeling that, for the first time I helped and changed something which gives a cleansing feeling that I never want to lose.

Niki Piliokaterou
(translation: Nadia Chatzitheodorou)


 

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