Voices from the village Lofou, Cyprus - Andreas Christoforou

Lofou (Greek: Λόφου) is a village in the Limassol District of Cyprus, located about 25 km northweast of Limassol.

A 2001 population census recorded that Lofou had ten (10) permanent inhabitants. On Saturday, 9 July 2016, and as part of the Xarkis Festival, on the grounds of the local church we had a chat with one of them, Andreas Christoforou...

We met with Andreas Christoforou on the grounds of the local church in Lofou.

"...I was born in Lofou in April 1945. I completed my primary school education doing six (6) months in the local school and six (6) months down in Ypsonas. My family used to come and go... We had donkeys for this task... We would leave at midnight and arrive in the morning... In Ypsonas we had carob trees and wheat fields... Up here we had grapevines... When we had to gather the carobs from the trees, at night time we would sleep under them..."

1940s. Left the grandfather of Andreas wife, Savvas. Back, his younger wife, Eleni. Nothing is known about the two ladies to the right of the photo. Time has taken its toll...

"...My father used to run a coffee shop when not working in the fields... We had no toilet those days... One room only... One bed for my parents, one bed for my brother and myself, and one bed for my sisters... All in the same room... In one corner we would light a fire with wood... There were more than one thousand (1000) inhabitants in the village at the time..."

"...As children our favourite game was to race doing handstands... From the church all the way down to the coffee shop in the middle of the village... At night time we would play around the village... There were no lights... It was dark..."

1954-55, Year 4 primary school. Andreas in the middle row, third from the right at the age of ten (10).

"...At the age of fourteen (14) I joined the National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters (EOKA) fighting for independence... We used to write on walls... Distribute leaflets... Watch out for the English army... We also had to watch out from the locals... Some did not like us pulling down the British flag... We were even shot at... "

"...I was married in 1971. My wife is from Lofou... In those days the wedding celebrations would last four (4) days..."

Andrea's wife Eleni at the age of fifteen on the right, with her family.
Eleni, Andrea's wife, her mother Maria and father Panagiotis.

"...We left Lofou around 1980... It is ironic really... Almost everybody was gone by then... We sold our houses very cheap and left... Everybody was selling their house... In recent years, somebody returned to the village, they renovated their house... Everybody else does the same..."

"...These days I do not live in the village all year round... I come up in the summer or during the holidays, on weekends... There was a retired English woman living in the village, but she died a couple of months ago..."

"...I am disappointed that so many people who renovated their houses do not come back to the village at all... Things have changed... It costs a lot of money to buy a house in the village now..."

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