All visits organised for our pupils (short-term – one-day – multi-day) have a double goal. On one hand, to enhance their knowledge through experiential activities and, on the other hand, to entertain and to encourage socialization and sensibility. That’s why we always make targeted choices according to our students’ age, interests and mental capacity. Before each visit, students are presented with the appropriate information by their teachers.
This particular monastery cooperates with several organisations to help save and preserve rare olive seeds, donkeys of Mani, ponies of Skyros, and rare bird species! During our visit we found out interesting things about the animals hosted there. In fact, we met Phoebe, Moon and Fiona, the Skyrian horses, which in terms of breed are considered to be descendants of the Athenian horse. Then, we discovered the tradition that lays behind the symbol of the cross that the donkey of Mani has on its back. According to this tradition, Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem riding a donkey and holding a cross. Finally, we had the chance to see some Alaska’s hens.
The conversation we had with the monks was a unique experience. We met wonderful people, truly kind and gentle, who taught us willingly about love to God, people and nature. The monastery “awarded” us with two recorded texts about the relationship between children and their parents nowadays which are getting worse day by day. However, the most rewarding experience of all was meeting Father Gabriel, the eldest monk of the monastery. A truly gentle man, a prominent speaker, who convinced us that Socrates’ obstetrics is the best method for a child to discover the world by being self-led to knowledge through appropriate questions and answers.
Our visit to the monastery was one of the most constructive experiences a teenager could have: coming in contact with nature and animals for a few hours, reflecting on issues that concern our society today, especially the family institution crisis and the disruption of ecological balance.