For the past eight years, a group of Russians, most of them scientists, have been living just outside Vatsiana in a self-sufficient collective household. The sloping walls with rounded corners provide stability during earthquakes and protect against extreme temperatures in winter and summer. Their wind generator, built from simple materials, works perfectly and together with the solar panel and reserve generators, makes them self-sufficient regarding their energy needs. They also have water coupons, like everyone else on the island. «There are better solutions, but everyone has to cooperate and that hasn’t happened,» they said. As incredible as it sounds, they even have a welding torch that runs on tsikoudia, the local potent brew. They collect olives and work in construction, developing discreet relations with the locals. Devout Christians, they are often the only ones who turn up at church, says Father Manolis.