Day 23 – Home stay in Yuvacali
The trip seems to be going faster and faster as the trip goes on and Turkey certainly is no exception, after saying goodbye to Syria early in the day we stopped on abridge on the Euphrates river. I was shocked at just how wide the legendary river was and was able to really get a feel for just how important the river would have been in warfare and commerce thousands of years ago. Countries that controlled the river would prosper and be able to utilize the river for transporting goods and people much easier and faster than any other means. Along the way to our home stay we stopped in the city of Sanliurfa for a few hours we enjoyed a brief eat as a group than had an hour or two to explore the markets and city. Germ and I took the opportunity to enjoy a Turkish coffee in what I could only describe as a game center and smoke room in the center of the vast markets of town. For anyone who has never Turkish coffee it is a very strong coffee in a small glass that tastes much stronger than an
espresso back home. I think I was the only tourist in the square and Gem gave me information about the games they played and I was lucky enough to get a real feel for what daily life is like in this southern most city in Turkey.
Moving on from town we were off for our home stay, I was completely unaware what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised. Allison the creator of the home stay program in this small Kurdish town works for News Week International and is the only foreign woman living in town. She has been trying to help the community since she moved there with her husband six years ago and has been doing an amazing job. Many other people, governments and NGO's have tried similar programs in the past and all have failed. I believe the main reason for her success is that she is fully commited to preserving the cultlre and refuses to place western style morals or changes anywhere near the program. For instance any woman arriving at the home stay not wearing a skirt that shows even her ankles is not allowed to stay, the same goes for men or woman
wearing anything that would show their shoulders. It is because of this unersvrting respect for the local culture that the program not only success with the locals built allows their visitors to really see what life is like in this small village. We had a welcome meeting with tea when we first arrived, before we went outside to watch the woman in our group milk sheep for milk to drink with dinner. Men were not allowed to milk the sheep or make bread in the morning as it would be seen as beneath them, most of the time the men in our group relaxed on our side of the room, yes the men were not allowed to sit on the side of the floor that woman sat on and men and woman married or not slept on the floor in two different rooms. Sleeping on the floor with the other men on the trip turned out to lead to a rough nights sleep as I think we had a unstated competition on who could snore the loudest, at one point I was awake to everyone else in the room snoring, Gem won the snoring contest by a landslide.
One of the girls who lived in the home, she loved getting her picture taken like most children we have met.
24 – Nemrut
In the morning of the home stay we woke up to roosters crowing and the lady of the house letting sheep ,and cows out of their pen. Once the animal chores were done she taught the woman of the group how to make home made thin bread over a fire while the men watched and took pictures. After a very lovely breakfast we were off to Nemrut.
Before going on this trip I had never heard of Nemrut, most of our group had not heard of it which is kind of sad because it was one of the more interesting historical sites we visited I with statues of gods from Persia and Greece on both sides of mount Nemrut the highest mountain in the region. I encourage everyone to quickly read the wikkipedia entry on the site I have posted a link at the bottom of the page. One of the more interesting things about the site is both sides are the same and were designed to have the statues facing the sun at sunrise and sunset. There was another long hike to the top of the mountain to witness the site and even though we
could only see one side because the other side was covered by snow it was still well worth the hike. While we were at the mountain the power failed at our hotel which was actually kind of nice as we all sat in the main dinning hall around a wood stove and old propane camping lamp talking drinking and enjoying a fantastic three course dinner.
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