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"It is easy to have a child, but it’s difficult to raise it here. When I was young I worked as a shepherd, then I was drawn to the sea and became a fisherman due to poverty. I raised my children with my one and only boat until they could leave and search for a better future elsewhere”.
The environment is being threatened
The fisherman in the cove of Microlimni of Prespes fears that all young people will abandon the area. A few meters away, a colleague of his is sprinkling the nets with a powder in order to clean and whiten them. The fumes are burning his eyes and annoy people around him. "Every time I use this powder I get breathless and I think I'm dying. I doubt that I will ever see my children again". He endures it though, because the nets are turning green in the lake, and how is he supposed to buy new ones? I don't think anybody has ever explained the danger he is putting himself and the environment in.
The villages are desolated
In Vrontero village, a few kilometres away from Prespes, the old houses can't be distinguished from the half-demolished corrals. When asked why the village seems deserted, a black dressed woman seems surprised and answers abruptly: "Why are you asking us? Ask those who are to blame for our situation".
Prespes is a magnificent place, one of the most beautiful places in Greece, where wild beauty flourishes but abandonment is visible. Young people are forced to migrate to the inland or abroad in order to have a decent life and educate themselves. Regions of much less beauty in other European countries are considered important sights. Prespes are doomed because of their miserable, Balkan destiny.
TEXT-PHOTOS: GEORGE ZAFEIROPOULOS