Voices from the village Lofou, Cyprus - Myrofora Neocleous

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 Friday, 8 July 2016, and as part of the Xarkis Festival, on the grounds of the local church we had a chat with one of them, Myrofora Neocleous...

Myrofora welcomed us to her Lofou house... We had a chat sitting outside in her well-kept garden.

"...I was born in this village in 1950. Together with my four (4) brothers and sisters we attended the local primary school. Life was good for us... Our childhood was very happy... We had no worries. Later we had to leave the village and attend high school downtown..."

Myrofora's grandparents from the fathers' side of the family - Kyriakos (left), Myrofora (right), somewhere between the 1930s and 1940s.

"...My father was a very smart man. We had land, lots of it... agricultural land, so he would grow things, grapes and carob trees... We would also produce Zivania (Greek: ζιβανία, a Cypriot brandy produced from a mixture of grape local dry wines). We had our own wine, flour, olives, grapes... He was a good businessman my father, a good trader... Later he became the village president for thirty-five (35) years... My father died about ten (10) years ago at the age of ninety (90)..."

1954-55, Lofou Primary School, Year 3. Myrofora is not in this photo, she joined the school one year later in 1956. It is not obvious why she kept this photo.
1958, Primary School Lofou. The teachers are Neophytos (left) and Kostas (right). Myrofora sitting bottom right.

"...I left the village in 1962, as soon as I completed my primary education. I went downtown to the high school there... My parents had land down there at the periphery of the town in Ypsonas, so we had to stay there for a month every summer to look after the land, the crops... Eventually, we ended up living down there and only visiting the village on occasions... We built a house down there, our kids grew up down there, so we stayed there... Away from the village..."

Inside Myrofora's house.

"...At the age of fifty (50) my husband and I, we decided to visit the village more often... My husband died when I was fifty-seven (57) years old, so I decided to stay up in the village for good... I look after the local church in the village, I got used to it, it keeps me busy..."

"...I don't like it downtown anymore. I feel very negative down there, and I can't live there anymore. I know it is difficult up here in the winter... It is cold in Lofou and I feel lonely since my husband died but I still like to live here... It is hard to be lonely up here... I don't like it in the summer because the village gets busy and it is not quiet... But still I like it up here, I got used to it... I couldn't be away for too long..."

"...I am not sure about the future of Lofou... Lots of people left and very few of the locals are coming back... I am not sure if there is a future for this village..."

"...Perhaps it is the tourists that come here all year round... The foreigners that come and buy houses... Perhaps that is where the future is for Lofou..."

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Art + Design: elearning lab - Design for social change