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Starfish Celebrates its First Wedding

Updated: Mar 2, 2021

Starfish Hears Wedding Bells Ring by Carol P. Christ

Starfish Foundation was on hand to celebrate the wedding of Laura Scott and Stellios Kouniaris on Thursday February 8, 2018 at the town hall in Molivos, Lesvos.

When Laura, an American who had been travelling the world for several years, arrived in Molivos in 2016 to volunteer during the refugee crisis, she was sent to volunteer at Starfish’s “Donkey” warehouse. On her first day, something went wrong—or in the end right–the other volunteer was several hours late! The only other person at the warehouse was Stellios who had been hired to do some painting. Assuming Stelios was her boss and not knowing what else to do, Laura picked up an extra paint brush and began to help him. They had no language in common but somehow managed to talk the day away between broad smiles.

When the other volunteer finally arrived, Stellios said that he would have to leave to go to milk his sheep. Laura, always curious about local culture, asked if she could come along. This was explained to Stellios, who gestured for Laura to climb on the back of his motorbike. After a riveting escapade into the mountains, Stellios deposited Laura back in Molivos town with a sweet smile. Laura recalled that she avoided the warehouse for the next week because she felt something she could not explain to herself about the man she had just met. Finally she gave in to her feelings and returned the warehouse. And the rest, as they say, is history.

The couple has visited back and forth ever since. They travelled together for three months in California and Mexico in Laura’s old car before deciding to get married and settle down in Molivos. In the meantime, Laura has practiced her Greek and Stellios has been working on his English. Communication in words remains a challenge. When I asked Laura about this problem, she told me that their connection is on a level deeper than words. At one point, unsure she understood his answers to various questions, Laura hired an internet interpreter for clarification. After only ten minutes it was clear that they had understood each other, so Laura cancelled the remainder of the Skype appointment.

Though it was windy the night before the wedding and rained in the morning, the wind stopped and the sun came out in time for the ceremony to be performed out-of-doors in one of the moments of spring in the midst of winter that Greeks call “the halcyon days.” Starfish friends, family, and others joined the couple for a celebration at Manoli’s restaurant in Eftalou. The feast included two of Stellios’s lambs and a pig slaughtered for the occasion. Dancing soon began and continued for hours. The bride cried tears of joy throughout the party, while the groom’s shy smile and adoring gaze revealed that he still could not believe his luck! Starfish wishes them all the best.

Starfish Foundation is a non-profit organization (NGO) recognized in the European Union. Founded at the height of the refugee migration to the Aegean islands, which was called the greatest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War, Starfish Foundations assists organizations dedicated to helping refugees and migrants in the island of Lesvos. Donate to Starfish Foundation here.

Carol P. Christ is an internationally known writer and educator living in Molivos, Lesvos, who volunteers with Starfish Foundation to assist with writing and outreach.

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