Voices from the village Lofou, Cyprus - Elias Othonos

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, Elias Othonos...

"I was born in 1948, in Lofou... My grandfather was born in Lofou..."

"As a child, I went to the primary school in Lofou... In those days we had seven (7) to nine (9) full-time teachers and the village had about 3000 inhabitants. I only completed the third year of primary school because my father who was a shepherd, wanted me to help him with the shepherding. At the time this was our only income..."

About 1950. Elias's father at the back, mother on the left (Elias on her knees), grandmother on the right (brother on her knees).

"We had about 100 sheep... One room, and one kitchen... The sheep had their own covered area... The milk and the cheese we used to sell in the surrounding villages... At the time there were fifteen (15) different shepherds in and around Lofou... In the winter we would take the flock on horseback down, closer to the periphery of the town, and in the summer we would bring the flock up here... Each trip - one direction - lasted about four (4) hours..."

"...My mother died at the age of ninety-six (96)... She had seven or eight children before I was born... They died before the age of two (2) or three (3) before I was born... Life was hard then... Living conditions were not good... There was hardship..."

Elias in 1970, during his military service.
Elias with his wife, holding a photo of their wedding outside the coffee shop she manages in Lofou.

"...I am still a shepherd these days. Every morning I tend the flock for a few hours... I have a Bangladeshi guy that helps me... He is very good... He evens speaks Cypriot..."

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Art + Design: elearning lab - Design for social change