Konstandia and Hristos Papastamatakis, from Nenita, turned out three hundred kilos of mastic. It’s been thirteen years now that he passed away. She’s over eighty today. She recalls the two of them rolling down from the village to Vokaria beach, either on a moped or in a car, carrying flexi tubs, porringers, barrels and sacks filled with mastic to be sorted and rinsed in the sea.
“After we had taken the sacks to that windy field where the thresher –as they call it– was, and thrown the leaves to the wind to get the first sift, we would then sieve them on the spot… Then you sort out the leaves, keep the middlings and take the dust and mastic blend to the sea, in like twenty sacks, then you make sure you pour half of it so that water comes in too, you stir it and all these leaves come on top, and that’s the so-called foam. Then you grab a denser sieve, dip a bucket into the water and pick up the mastic, sieve it, dip once more, sieve the mastic again, and there you have it, nice and clean. Rinse it and then either put it in the sacks or leave it to dry on rugs, on old sheets…. We would pull off three hundred kilos, also working on other people’s plots.”
I met her at her house and she was all smiles and accommodating, wearing a little headscarf, clearing up her neighbor’s mastic and insisting on treating me all sorts of confections.
Translated into English by Nikos Loutraris.
She studied "Greek Culture" at the Hellenic Open University and "Research for Local Development and Cohesion" at the Faculty of Sociology of the Aegean University.