Team’s achievements 1965


Above an overview of 5 years community development, April 1965 by Mr. Koksma. Click on the text to enlarge.



Team’s achievements up to 17 April 1965, second part up to October 1965


A letter by George Koksma to the World Council of Churches office in Geneva dated 17 April 1965.

Review on activities of the Kythera-Team.

(In Word by Jean Bingen, February 2013)


1 Reforestation.

The team follows together with the Bishop a policy contra the Government. It is His Grace’s express wish that the new tree nursery (a necessity) should be made at Agios Theodoros and not at Kalamos. The Government is doing this at Kalamos, but this is:


  • Not in the centre of the island (as is Agios Theodoros) and
  • Has not sufficient water as has Agios Theodoros (says the Team)

For that reason construction and exploitation 1965 costs 70.000 Drachmas or US $ 2.350. Funds are available.

Number of planted trees for this season is 135.000 to 140.000

Preparation for tree planting in next season is in full swing just now!

This should really be done during the fall, but then we have no hands because of the olive harvest. Money for this item is available from the English Church donation.


1965 Dr. Kasapis & mr. Koksma


2 Water economy.

Since there are no funds available to proceed with water systems and irrigation we try, together with the Bishop, to get the Government interested.


  • The brook of Ocheles with a 1000 m3 flow off to the sea every day
  • The brooklet of Perati where 350 m3 is spilled
  • The many possibilities of Livadi

If all this could be utilized for domestic water and irrigation, and this is possible, the problem for Kythera would be solved. Could you not consider this and discuss it with the committee?

On Bishop’s orders (and with governmental funds) we are making a road to have a well drilling site at Logothetianika, as promised by government.

Systems for Agia Pelagia, Livadi, and Chora are under constant discussion and study.

An irrigation system for the plain of Paleopolis will be carried out this year or in 1966, partly with money from landowners there, partly from the agricultural bank as a loan, with interest 2%, and help for the crucial point has been requested from “Self Help Project”.

A summer work camp may help pushing things.

Other water systems are in preparation in the team’s office.


3 Road and harbour building.

There are many requests for construction of rural roads in order to end isolation of small villages and to connect fields and to open up the country. Little funds available; consequently, slow progress. We keep in touch with governmental instances concerning these items and concerning harbour building.

Together with many Kytherian prominents from Athens we try to push plans for a good road from Sparta to Neapolis and connections with a ferry boat.

Together with Mr. Vironas Dapontes we promote plans for an airstrip. This month a permit was granted.



1965, Potamos, market


4 Animal husbandry.

This item showed to be most successful of our efforts indeed. Not only the number of our cows went up from 50 to 280, and the number of sheep doubled, and the half wild goats diminished with 60%, but we have a market for the milk! Namely the cheese factory at Logothetianika.

Enough fodder is raised nowadays and production is still increasing.

In order to support further cow breeding we had a self help stable building project. For a unity stable, by the team designed, we could pay most of the materials, the labour and the remainder was for the stable owner’s account.

Funds are exhausted long since, the demand increases. Consequently, success is there, but we must stop the upward trend by lack of means.

Even yesterday at a large meeting the Bishop himself, as well as the managers of the national and the agricultural banks plus the agricultural expert and the veterinarian surgeon, they all took over the team’s propaganda slogan “Stop with wheat and switch over to trees and animals!”


5 Industry.

Yes, we have a cheese factory and a large refrigerator. That start has been made, but there is not enough power to proceed in the right way. So, we are doing with all the power we possess and all instances that might be interested to make it a cooperative. Just now!

Some people have tried to start a metal industry, it does not do.

Plans for the manufacturing of agricultural products in cooperation with the southern tip of Lakonia, centring on Skala, are in full swing. Athens industrialist will take over in due time.

Much energy was bestowed on the foundation for a hotel at Kapsali to get the tourist industry for the island going. Dr. Kijlstra showed us to evaluate a hint of Dr. Tilanus for a non-profit organization running the hotel, which should be constructed at the best location of the island. Getting around all Greek laws in connection with this theme makes us understand why exactly Greeks originated the labyrinth.


1965, Potamos market, Pappas


6 Welfare.

Only very special needs are met by the team in this respect. There is no welfare existing and the Bishop is lacking funds.


7 Education.

One special tragic case, of a young student for whom the promised scholarship still did not come off, we have helped up to now from regular budget money.

Strongly supported by the Bishop we do our utmost to get the home economic and agriculture school built as soon as possible. How can we expect up-to-date dealing by ill-educated men?

This is the school we need at Kythera and the southern Peloponnese. Foundations are ready for 75%.

This summer, with a Swiss summer work camp the concrete skeleton will be started. Funds will come from Holland. We pray to God that the “Division” will forward Bishop’s request for finishing the project to “Brot für die Welt”! We feel that they will help us again. And … this project pays, for this country.



Potamos market 1965


8 Religion themes.

We almost finished the rebuilding and extension of two monasteries and are doing now with the reconstruction of the church bell tower of Mylopotamos. Without costs to the budget.


9 Agricultural reform.

We are involved in all parts of this reform in every part of the island. All over the place change is beginning to show.

  • Examples/results from our experimental garden are followed by many farmers. Grape raising (this year 4000 more), tree planting, dry fields utilized for potatoes, legumes and lettuces, grafting of every wild fruit tree, utilizing of natural manure, all this is beginning.
  • The cooperation in the Paleopolis area. Utilizing at least 800 acres first class agricultural land is slowly coming true. Irrigation plans have been set up by the team’s office. Funds will be available from the agricultural bank and “Self Help Project”, see under 2 Water economy.
  • At least four gardeners are improving their terrains according our advices.
  • The growing of wheat, barley, etc. is diminishing. The growing of fodder has increased from using 2950 kg seed up to 26.000 kg of seed.
  • On the island the oxen are vanishing and already 30 smaller and larger tractors took their place.
  • The Government will start a huge experiment utilizing thorn bush deserts for growing animal fodder. The Bishop and the team are involved in the set-up.


10 Technical assistance.

Due to the fact that most of the team members are well trained technicians, the activities of the team are manifold and meet many needs.



View on Avlemonas 1965



Team’s achievements up to October 1965

A letter by George Koksma to the Athens WCC office dated 9 October 1965.

(In Word by Jean Bingen, February 2013)

Review of past, present and future activities.


1 Reforestation.

We tried to educate the population in positive respect.

Deforestation should be stopped and the manifold advantages of reforestation policy should be taught so much and so long to the population, that they themselves start this part of development of their country.

Together with the Bishop Meletios, financed from abroad and not according to the old governmental policy, we started as a logical consequence a new nursery in the centre of the island.

Latest developments: responsible governmental officials have accepted our proposals and are planning future collaboration.

Future activity of the team will be mainly education and propaganda so that the reforestation of the island may become the “property” of the population and an example for all Greece.

Theme of this education will be: “Start loving trees!”


2 Water economy.

Through team’s activity, domestic water was brought to three village conglomerates; surveying and planning has been done for other places. Since our first strenuous efforts, governmental development in this respect has started.

For preparation of a large irrigation system in a good valley, Paleopolis plain, an ecumenical summer work camp has made a well.

After many years and much labour, especially by the Bishop, artesian well drilling equipment of the government is now drilling on the island. Only some weeks ago our first artesian well drilling hit a 1000 m3 a day!

The same installation will start its work one of these days in the village of Livadi, where just now plans are in process for a water system with the help of a private donation from Holland.

Future projects are to proceed with plans for domestic water for most or all of the villages if possible and for the utilization of free water for irrigation of arable land.


3 Road and harbour building.

Through team’s activities many kilometres of roads were constructed and governmental road building was strongly pushed or supported.

Almost all harbour work activities on the island had their origin in the team’s office.

Two new roads are under construction.

Future plans: promotion of better harbour works at Kythera.



1965 bs73 Team's 1st aid at work in kitchen (1963-1971) Dimitra Kypriotou
1965 1st aid at work in the kitchen (1963-1971) Dimitra Kypriatou


4 Animal husbandry

Increase of livestock of good race.

Stable building for that purpose

Continuous propaganda for the changeover of grain culture to animal husbandry.

Fighting against the devastating herds of half wild goats.

Instruction for the utilization of all products derived from animal husbandry activity, beginning with meat, milk and cheese up to the proper and efficient use of physical manure we propagated strongly. This item should be illustrative for all mountainous Greece.


5 Industry.

From the first days of our stay at Kythera we have tried to raise a tourist industry at the island. Indeed people, on a modest scale, started some village house renting and a bungalow camp activity in private enterprise. For a well directed tourist hotel, designed and detailed by the team, we got the necessary governmental permits, but failed to find starting-funds.

The team promoted and sponsored the foundation of a cheese factory and had a hand in the set up of a petrol harbour which proved to be a failure.

The team is proceeding with the hotel plans and with trials for sugar refinery from carob beans. These are in an advanced stage.

The same applies for more efficient olive oil refinery.

The team is planning and proceeding with the carob sugar set up and does hope to offer this in due time to the Greek Government.

The same applies to the oil manufacture.

Many problems have to be solved in regard to the founding of a sufficient important tourist industry.

We will go on with our struggle to form good tourist hotels, pavilions, shops, etc., but good connections with the mainland are indispensable and the help from the government in this respect is inevitable.

The team will support any other plan for the development of industry.


1965, Potamos, photo taken from the church towards the English bridge and left the School


6 Welfare.

Although the team had no funds for welfare purposes, some activity in this field was unavoidable.

Greatest item in this respect is the foundation of the old people’s home for which institution we worked now during 4 years. 1st Foundation stone was laid on Sunday 3 October 1965 at Potamos.

Future plans of the team are restricted to the effectuation of the old people’s home at Potamos.

We sincerely hope to hand the entire chapter as a whole to our Greek Directorate of the future and/or in cooperation with the diaconate of the Greek Orthodox Churches.


7 Education.

The team commented up to the limit the disastrous situation on this field at Kythera. Contacts with Greek officials showed us how tremendous the difficulties were and are. We dedicated much time and trouble to the improvement of agricultural education, since our area is a typical rural one.

No activity at the present time.

Future plans: with all our power we will try to go on to the end for the founding of a large rural home economic school at Mylopotamos. Up to now several summer work camps made quite a part of the foundations etc., but still there is 90% more to do for this modern dwelling for an existing state affair. Propaganda will be made for this most important development of all the southern Peloponnese and Kythera.


8 Religion themes.

The team always exerted itself for improvements of religious buildings, events, and for the cleric connected, especially with the Bishop, but left the spiritual side of its being and its spiritual commission of witness almost slumbering.

This somewhat neglected duty will be performed as yet, particularly with concern to the common covering organization, the World Council of Churches.


Potamos, bell towers under construction


9 Agricultural reform.

Activities of the team in this respect have been constantly increasing but were very insufficient by lack of expertise. Propaganda was made and information was given in newspaper, round letters, lectures and private visits in order to change a situation that was very serious indeed. This took much time and energy, especially during those years that the Greek language was terra incognita for us, but the relatively large results in this field are our greatest pride in the frame of our very strenuous efforts to perform our duty of an overall community development as good as could be done.

The team does hope to be able to work long enough at Kythera to involve its entire surface in a great plan of utilization in a modern way. The right equilibrium has to be found for the use of agricultural machinery. Better seeds and better products should be used and obtained. New methods and products should be tried out. New markets have to be found for existing and new products.

The team wants to go on with own experiments and trials in order to show to Kythera and/or Greece better ways.

We do hope to break the vicious circle of old, fashioned in too many respects, of sentimental egoism concerning the availability of fields, of abused laws and the evil of splinter properties.

Propaganda will be made against the worldwide trend of urbanization.


10 Technical assistance.

The team worked out long series of objects in this respect, more than 100 are mentionable.

Several technical projects are effectuated just now.

The team does hope to be able to go on in this respect especially in an educative way.

N.B.        All enterprise in every respect with team’s involvement has always been and will always be in closest cooperation with His Grace the Bishop, and with the governmental officials concerned.



1965 Dokana Lime kiln in process


1965 Collecting firewood for lime kiln, at main road junction near Dokana to Arei


1965 Dokana

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