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My best woman wrote me this prayer, she raised my kid […] she was a mother, a father, a friend, everything. I was left alone at one point of my life and she took my kid and she raised him here, in Thessaloniki. I was working, she was raising the kid, that was our relationship.

Eleni explains that when she was in a prison in Piraeus, she met Stella, her best woman. Eleni’s son was growing up with her in prison and when he turned three years old, Eleni was afraid they would take him to an institution, as there was no family to raise him outside of prison. Stella recommended that she raise him in Thessaloniki, where she had a home.

This woman proved to be exactly who she seemed to be: honest with me about everything. I also came [to Thessaloniki] when I was released and I found a nice environment, a family. They were living with her sister, her older brother, her nephews and nieces… a family. My own family had left me behind after prison, because they didn’t want to have a bad reputation, so they wanted neither my kid, nor me. So, I found a family. This was the family that supported me.

She says about Stella that her husband left for Cameroon and took their son with him, meaning that Stella didn’t see her son again until he was 18. As she tells us, Stella gave all of her love to Eleni’s son.

I was working, she was raising the kid and that was our relationship. We were living together with the kid, but at night I would have to leave, because I was working in bouzoukia, bars, nightclubs, as a flower seller. She was raising the kid here, I was working around, but the reference point was here, the kid.”

As she says, she was a woman who took in a four-year-old kid until he was 16 and she explains that the prayer was written about her son, in 1993, and she has kept it since then.

This is her own prayer, it’s coming from inside her, she wrote all this for us, it’s personal. She made it from a piece of wood and other materials she found.

She mentions that Stella passed away in 2005, from cancer. After her death, they moved to a different house, as Stella’s sister rented the house they were living in. She explains that her death cost her a lot, her son was left alone and she went through a lot of hardships.

I feel as if she’s still here, she never left.


Creator of object:
Place / Country of creation:
Year / Era of creation:
Eleni Manolatou
Type / Description of object:
Wooden prayer
Object route:
Year / Era of movement:
1993 – present
Reason of movement:
License of digital image:

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