Learning - a new lease of life
Being the eldest child of a family with four boys and two girls, I had to get a job very early to support my family financially. So I chose to become a decorator because at that time it was a well-paid job, although I did not like it very much.
Until the age of 45 I was a happy family man, with a lovely wife, three charming children, living in a nice house and running my own business, as a decorator.
In 1974 Turkey invaded Cyprus and occupied almost half of the island, including my hometown, Famagusta. As a consequence we were forced to run off, leaving everything behind, and had to settle down as a refugee in another place, Limassol. There, I managed to start my life all over again, set up my business, build a new house and looked after my children.
At the age of 57, I had another strike in my life. I lost my wife. The blow was very hard. My life became miserable, especially after work, when I was going back to an empty house, because I was a homebody (homeloving) man.
Then, almost by accident, I heard about the Adult Education Centres and joined a woodcarving class, which I´d always hoped to do but never before had the chance.
This changed my life completely.
At my premises I set up a small workshop, where I was spending all my spare time. I did the same at my home, where I was spending almost all my time, when I was returning home after work and all the weekends.
At the Adult Education Centres I met other people who had the same interest as me. Many of those used to come to my place and discuss ideas or just talk about woodcarving.
All of a sudden my premises became the centre for all those people interested in woodcarving.
Gradually, I gave up decorating completely and became fully involved with woodcarving and restoring old (antique) furniture. I enjoyed it very much, because it was the kind of job that I always wanted to do, but had never before had the chance.
Today, I am 75 years old, and still practising woodcarving, but for pleasure. I have made many pieces of carved furniture for my children and my grandchildren. People still come to my place to ask for my opinion and assistance or talk about woodcarving, or just to pay a social visit for chatting. My involvement with adult education, for almost 20 years, at a very difficult period, when I lost my wife, proved to be a very crucial stage of my life. It has helped me overcome all the problems of loneliness that I was facing at that time. It also made me change my job from what I was in a way forced to do, to what I liked to do.