Lonely villagers pin hope on bus

Frustrated by a lack of brides in their home villages, a group of Greek men is to visit Ukraine later this month in search of local women who would like to start a new life as farmers’ wives in the hills of the Peloponnese. Forty men are taking the love bus to Ukraine, in an excursion laid on by local authorities in the Zacharo area, some 30 kilometers (19 miles) south of Pyrgos in the western Peloponnese. Once there, they will have five days to find themselves a woman willing to marry them, in civil ceremonies to be held on the spot. «There are many [Ukrainian] women who would like to live in Greece,» Zacharo Deputy Mayor Spyros Bilionis told Kathimerini. «The standard of life there is not satisfactory, and they regard our country as a kind of paradise.» Bilionis said most young women that grow up in the Zacharo villages leave to study, and never return. «But many local men have real estate assets which, if fully exploited, will allow them to live comfortably,» he added. «Why should they leave?»