Rethymno: Who was the Great Benefactor of the mountainous village of Alones, Gustavo Duran

Gustavo Duran loved Crete and . It has been 55 years since his death and a whole village, remembers his great benefactor… Spanish composer, self-exile lieutenant colonel, humanitarian, diplomat, Permanent Representative of the UN in Greece, Director of the Greek Technical Assistance Program (1965 – 1969). Properties of a man who loved Greece, worshiped Crete and Rethymno left life 55 years ago, 1969 as a Eupatrides, Gustavo Duran. Great Benefactor of the mountain village Alones Rethymnon, Gustavo Duran came to Greece in April 1965 and settled in Athens. A personal friend of Ernest Hemingway and Patrick Lee Fairmore wanted to have at home a domestic assistant who he spotted in the face of 17-year-old Cretan woman Maria Alevyzaki – Louganis, who was working in Athena. It all began with the game of fate for Gustavo Duran, about his love that was made for Crete, Rethymno the village of Alones, as Dimitris Kalaitzidakis Director of Operations Grecotel Hotels & Resorts Rethemniotis unfolds his history at the APE-BE. In September 1965, when Maria asked to travel to Rethymno to find herself in her village in Alones, at the fair of St. John, Gustavo Duran realized that the girl, his domestic assistant was from that village and even was the niece of a person who greatly appreciated and knew through his readings. He was the heroic priest – Alevyzak, known form of resistance, even known by his friend, Patrick Lee Fairmore. Duran and Maria agreed to travel together to the village, Crete, wanting to meet her family and the village Alones. According to Mr. Kalaitzidakis, “this accidental incident led Duran to the mountainous village of Kryonerite, Alones. After an adventurous journey on carways, riding on donkeys, Durant, his wife Bonde, the genus Crompton and his two daughters, Janna and Lucy, arrived in Alones, through the village of Vilandredo. Impressed by Mary’s hospitable family and the history of resistance of the inhabitants, she observed that women had to carry water, with pitchers, from the village’s central tap, quite far away.” He was a man of great heart and rich spirit, Virginia Chutherou had said about Duran, whom she knew well and described as a servant in the service of World Peace, Philhellene above all and a humanitarian. Mr. Kaladzidakis, whose father was Gustavo Duran’s friend, made known that this observation about the pitcher and women unlocked his philosophy of life for social development and progress. “This meant that Duran, in two years (1965 – 1967) managed to secure funding from his own money and financial assistance from his Dutch friends to design and complete a project with which geologists, engineers, workers, created a network of water pipes, to reach valuable water in all the village houses. The photograph of Duran with the Cretan sariki on the head with Papa-Alevyzos, the late Virginia Tsoutherou and my father, Michalis Kalaitzidakis – Bobola, in front of the truck, full of plastic pipes remains characteristic.” And it wasn’t just this act, his love for the Alones… In the poor village, Gustavo Durann decided to reach domestic rabbits a special breed from the Orthodox Academy of Crete in Kolybari in Chania for the villagers to have the domestic animal that almost from any village in Crete was not missing since it is still part of the healthy Cretan Diet. He even paid artisans to make cages so that there would be production, raising house rabbits. He also made sure that the school was extended, to provide children with soup kitchens, there would be clothing for them but also for the elderly not to miss the drugs. Slowly says Dimitris Kalaidzidakis: “It was bonded to the inhabitants of the village, the Alones the entire island. He loved and shared the mandinades, participated in the feasts of his Cretan friends, incorporated in his dress elements of Crete and the Cretan sariki, while never avoided learning and singing the radical, main form of expression of the Cretan soul, culture and life.” Through all this route which began from a search for a domestic assistant Gustavos Duran met, loved, loved, strengthened and became one with Crete. This relationship led to his expressing his last desire and being covered by the Cretan Earth. “He rests in Alones, in the embrace of the land of Kryoneritis, in the shadow of Velanidia that always gave him his dew, in the place he loved and so loved him,” Mr. Kalaidzidakis announces who as he says: “I remember at the age of 11 that the family table, after the funeral, was held at our home at night. Although the funeral had just taken place, they had asked my father to have Greek music. After the table and music, I remember that one – a family member stood up and told a tender story of their family’s life, in relation to Gustavo Duran.” He left life on March 26, 1969. On Sunday, March 30, 1969, Gustavo Duran’s body is transferred to Rethymno and as a newspaper of Chania reported: “ Carry to be buried, according to his desire, into the picturesque village. Alones, under an oak, which he once said: “This is a place to be buried”” says the response from Chania, a newspaper dated 28 March 1969. The bust of the eupatride, humanist, Cretanolatris Duran, adorns the square as a token of gratitude to the inhabitants who, thanks to him, thirsty and survived. Dimitris Kalaidzidakis tells APE-BE that in the small historical museum of the village, there are documents from the life of the Duran family along with other documents from the heroic resistance of the village against the Germans. He even remembers in his reference Christos Konstantakis who lived and remembers that time and later was a school teacher. Mr. Kostantoudakis mentions features: “Gustavo Duran’s blue-green eyes caused a wave of emotions to the people of the village. He caressed our royals, smelled our limes and thus took root in our village and was now found under the great oak.”

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