The Servant VII 1964



O YΠHPETHΣ VII, the Servant 7 is a letter in Greek from december 1964 by George Koksma to the Kythirian community about farming. The translation has been done in 2018 by Emmanuel Alfieris, from Australia:


I’d like to write to you again after these past months with the things that occupy my thoughts.

I look out for Kythera and its residents and I care for their good.  Because there are still only a few people that listen to us.  And when I see large portions of the island burn many times, and whole families leaving, and wheat being planted with fertiliser, and they still have goats, I therefore say “They don’t want to listen or follow us.  What’s the value of our work? I think it’s better for us to go elsewhere…..”

Of course, in Avlemonas, there are enough children for a school of their own, and the issue with the children in Fratsia is looking better, but some villages on Kythera are slowly dying and the word Australia is the only thing of value there.


So, the people of Geneva say: “Let the Kytherians go and you too should leave Mr. Koksma since your work there has no results!!!!”  But no, this I will not do.

Of course, it’s difficult.  Of course, there are many people who are indifferent, and not only that, but they insult us and there are reactions against us.  We received an anonymous letter from Athens (from a poor fellow that is a little crazy) but all those things do not replace the good we have found.

A person working to create general progress cannot do so with the lazy masses that sit at the cafes and who only know to say, “It doesn’t matter” or “What can we do?”

Together with others however, we are progressing.  And the portion of Kytherians that want to progress with us is growing, glory be to God!



1964 photo by Gerard Helmink



We see thousands and thousands of trees everywhere and always.  I see three and four times more cows from when I first came to Kythera.  We see more sheep and less goats.  I see construction everywhere. Houses, tanks, stables.  These are people that want to improve, that believe Kythera still has a future, that the wind, water, sun and soil of their homeland still has value, these people are doing so, even as the numbers of those leaving is increasing, they’re the ones struggling for the betterment of our good island.

200,000 Trees and 50 tractors are the proof of what I’m telling you.  And I have much more proof, but when you ask me “Are you happy?”, I will immediately answer “No.  Unfortunately, not.”


Our big word: “Only trees and livestock” are not 100% of Kythera’s agriculture.  And Kythera needs to live from, let’s call it “manufacturing”, and I have not done anything for that part of Kythera.  Of course, we’re always trying many plans, the Karavas lighthouse that will shine to Kapsali and we now have contacts with the Governments of Holland and Greece, but such things are hard and we in the unit do this alone. It’s difficult, even though initiatives from 2 years ago have been enacted and continue.

But that the way it is!  However agricultural initiatives require many people to enact.  From Mr. Kalligeros, from Mr. Zerlendes, from me, and…… all of you.  Therefore, from all of us together.  “All of us together” is the most difficult of all.  Harmony is rare on Kythera, albeit necessary. Harmony is when we collaborate with each other even if we don’t share the same opinions.  It’s when we collaborate with Gianni, and Kosta, and know that they’re idiots!  Now, all of Kythera, listen to my words:


Trees and livestock are the future of Kythera

Not wheat!!!!!


Yes, yes, I know very well that this is the season for wheat.  Now that it’s rained a little, you see ploughs cutting the fields, cutting the grey and leaving the landscape dark and beautiful.

It’s the season of high hopes.  And what are Kytherians doing?  They’re planting wheat and their high hopes again are futile.  And you know this from the outset.  “Yes, I know” says a friend “but what else are we do to with our fields if we don’t plant wheat?”

Well it’s very simple.  Plant feed.  Feed for the livestock.  Don’t say again that you obligated to plant wheat.  And if you want, just a little for the hay. Therefore, for the livestock no one will say it’s a mistake, but wheat is expensive!!! Yes, that’s the way it is, it’s expensive.  And you know it very well because I’ve spoken and written about this topic many times.  You’re producing a product that is costing 10 drachmas when you can buy it for 5!


I’ve heard that Greeks are such good merchants, but I doubt it.  Mr Kalligeros, Mr Zerlendes and I have calculated the results of wheat production and always, but always, have found the production costs are always higher than the price you would pay at the Agricultural Bank to buy wheat.  No one can produce wheat less than 5 drachmas a kilo.  You can get a kilo of better quality wheat from the Agricultural Bank at 2.5 drachmas.  Who is that crazy, that will pay with 5 drachmas for a bad thing, when they can get the good for 2.5? 

And there are many that pay, not 5, but 7 and 10 drachmas a kilo for the wheat they produce, when we don’t calculate the work……….

And now I see with my soul’s eyes, the doubting faces of many people I know so well, from Manoli, from Antoni, from Christo, and from Giorgi and I can hear them saying yet again: “Yes, your right, but what are we to do?” while they’re scratching their heads!!  Then they leave a little upset and a little ashamed to go to make the same mistakes!!  And then tell us, when we see them again: “We’re so poor”!!!

Yes, yes, it appears that we may continue to fight as we always do, it doesn’t matter what people here may be doing!!

They’re planting wheat!!!!!!! Well, listen to our advice for Kythera’s agriculture.


1964 photo by Gerard Helmink


Where ever possible on your fields, plant trees!!!  First start with olives. A few new olive trees every year, even if you don’t have many hands.  And after you’ve planted enough olives, plant some carob trees, because the day will come when you will be very happy from this tree. So, a few carob trees! And every year 100 cypress trees and 100 eucalyptus trees.  Yes eucalyptus! And a few pine trees.

Of course, 1,000 or 1,500 cypress trees every year is better than 100, but you need to leave some time for the livestock.  Have as many animals as you can.  Firstly, have cows.  We want milk, and in addition, we’ll bring a pedigree bull to improve the stock.  And sheep.  Not two little sheep, as I often still see, but 10 and 20 and 100. And again milk.  For your life, for your money, the cheese factory is good.  And for these livestock, feed.  Therefore: Three leaf clovers where ever possible and small scrubs.  Fill me all of Kythera with these, my friends!  And I will never again hear that you’re poor, because when Kythera is in this circumstance, no one, nobody will be poor!!!


But listen!  Slowly I beg you.  In Holland we say: Cologne and Athens (two large cities) were not built in a day!  That the way it is.  Good things take time.  So, patience.  Patience and please don’t rush!!! Don’t rush.  Changing your life is difficult.  For two thousand years you have been planting wheat.  And now when large countries like the United States of America and Canada produce such plentiful amounts, it is no longer logical for you to continue producing wheat. So, as we said, a change is necessary!

And change will come!!!!  Try planting trees on a portion of your fields and do not slaughter all your new livestock, and slowly we arrive where we want to.  And you can always come for a piece of good advice on this topic, to

Your Servant,

Together with his warm and honest wishes, for Christmas and the new year to every Kytherian household and every Kytherian, on any part of the world they may be.

Georgios Koksma.


1964 photo by Gerard Helmink


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