On the fifth day we went on our first company visit of the trip! We drove into Larnaca in the morning to attend a presentation hosted by the Cyprus Marine and Maritime Institute, or CMMI. This non-profit, private organization’s vision is to increase sustainable Blue growth driven by the needs of the industry and society. “Blue growth” refers to discovering the potential of marine resources in an environmentally friendly manner; CMMI’s business foundation is rooted in 5 R&I missions which not only include sustainability but restoration, retaining workforce, building digital knowledge, and pollution clean up/prevention. Though the company only employs 44 people, CMMI has contributed significant time and resources into investing in the development of maritime technology and in furthering public education about the sea. They accomplish this through hosting Blue Youth Camp in the summers and field trips or seminars during the school year, while also supporting the centers inside of CMMI, including the Marine Technology Division, the Marine Sciences Division and the Marine Social Sciences division. Each center conducts its own studies and creates prototypes for new inventions, such as underwater security sensors and shipping vessels run solely by sustainable energy.
After we said goodbye to Larnaca, we headed up into the mountains to explore the village of Lefkara, a small town whose main specialties are handmade lace and silver items. Being in an area so isolated from the outside world helped me detach from the hustle of the city and enjoy the country of Cyprus for what it really is, and really it’s about the people and the history that ties with them; specific lace patterns, for example, are an important identifying characteristic of the village, and one woman who owns a bakery replicated the patterns on to cookies with icing which were a big hit amongst our group. We also stopped by many jewelry stores to buy handmade gifts for our family members back home. It was amazing to get the opportunity to visit such a beautiful place, and I am grateful for all of the experiences I’ve had so far as well as the experiences I will have in the future.