As the Greek financial mess gets worse, many Greek villagers are turning to the land for the resource. In the Greek village of Karitaina, high in the mountains, residents use their livestock and locally grown vegetables to ensure that they and their families do not go hungry.
Being remote doesn't protect the people entirely from the financial crunch, though. For instance, the nearest town with a bank is Megalopoli, and unfortunately, the bus there has been stopped due to budget cuts. The pension amount the villagers receive has also been reduced, resulting in the sort of heartbreaking situation where pensioners need to spend 40 euros on a taxi to withdraw a measly 60 euros.
Despite the difficulties, however, the people of the region maintain their sense of hospitality. Visitors are often hosted with food, to eat as well as to take with them. These traditions, both of hospitality and survival through hard times, go back a long way. The region has gone through tough times including natural disasters, and the horrors of the second world war. Yet it has survived, and people are hopeful that it will continue to.
Pensions here are important because so many adults can no longer find jobs. As a result, a pensioner can often be supporting generations with their money. Although taxi drivers in the region have reduced their fares of transport into the town, many retirees opt to try to stretch the money they have for as long as possible, instead of traveling to the bank to withdraw a small amount. They feel the pension controls have stripped them of their pride.
Although the pensions are very low compared to other parts of the country, one convenience for some of the locals is that they can receive their pensions by post under a special system. This is a boon for those that get it, because it saves them the long trip into town, and even if banks closed by the government do not reopen, these pensioners continue to get their money through the postal system.
Not that this system is reliable either. One week, for instance, the pensions simply didn't come through, and the postal workers had to explain the lack of money to the villagers. Most of the time, though, the money does come through and allows the locals to live a comfortable if frugal life.
The region, despite being remote, is still interestedly watching Greece's dealings on the international platform. Some residents agree with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, and are against a bailout deal by the European Union. Particularly, they grudge the fact that it will force more austerity measures and cutbacks on the Greek people. Others feel that rejecting a bailout may lead to leaving the Eurozone, and this should be prevented. Even in this remote town, the disagreement of opinion can lead to separated tables at the local café.
Whatever happens, this scenic and quiet little town will hopefully continue to thrive, with its green-thumbed farmers and stoic generations of hearty and generous Greeks.