Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Turkey Update

Our trip to Cappadocia the weekend before last was AMAZING despite my
Freudian slip foreshadowing possible "Crapadocia". The 9-hour
overnight bus ride was indeed brutal and to the delight of my
teammates I had a beautiful wipe-out while attempting to disembark
from the bus at a rest stop around 3am. The only word that escaped my
lips was a high-pitched "OY!" and it has become the butt of many
jokes. But it certainly was not as bad as leaving a fellow teammate
behind… we won't name names. (IRELAND)

In Cappadocia we shared a tour van with a few others, including four
young Turks and a hung-over Brazilian woman. We also met a wonderful
couple in their 70's named Lee and Marlene. They were the most joyful
people, totally in love, and never hesitant to lay a nice wet kiss on
your forehead. We had the best time with them exploring the "ancient"
Christian caves, getting pictures of the amazing rock formations, and
visiting a ceramics business. The next day we got a tour guide all to
ourselves and he took us on a fantastic hike through Red Valley where
there are old Christian chapels carved into the stone and caves that
are now pigeon houses. There were also families who still live in the
caves there and have cultivated beautiful orchards amidst all of the
rocks and historical sites. As we walked along the guide would pluck
fruit from the surrounding trees and we would munch on perfectly ripe
plums and apricots. We couldn't stop thinking this must have been
what Eden was like. Perfect temperature, perfect atmosphere and yummy

The underground cities were our last stop. These were chiseled out
over the course of hundreds of years in response to Arab and Muslim
attacks and some Christian communities would hide in them and not come
out for up to four years! Imagine never seeing the light of day for
that long. I'd be pretty white. We had to hunch our shoulders and
practically crawl through some of the passageways. Besides feeling a
wee bit claustrophobic we all enjoyed it a lot, particularly the
living quarters and kitchen. One of the coolest things were the doors
so I included a picture of us lifting one. They are enormous round
stones with a hole in them for poking your lance through and stabbing
your enemies on the other side! That was their only line of defense
so if that didn't work they had to book it to the next underground
city through their 9-kilometer escape tunnel!

Our return home was not so happy. We learned that Isun, one of the
teachers at Kids Klub (who is only 21), wasn't at work because her
father had died in a horrible construction accident over the weekend.
Rebekka too learned that a family friend had passed away. Then she
woke up Tuesday feeling horribly ill with a fever. On Wednesday
morning I got sick with the same thing plus vomiting. Things have
calmed down and we've all regained our health but for a while it was
like a permanent case of the Monday's.

Now for a typical day at the Kid's Klub! We usually take a dolmish
(small dingey bus) around 9:30 and arrive around 9:45 to the smiling
faces of our students and usually desperate screams from the nurseries
upstairs (don't worry, it is really a nice place!). They all greet us
with hugs and the double kiss thing then we buckle down for a long
morning of craft rotations. We've made tissue butterflies, bead
lizards, collage candle holders, painted pots with flower seeds in
them, and a huge tree on the wall with glittery leaves and English
words written on it. All the kids in the school will come in at
different times to do the craft so it's really busy and stressful, but
fun! Then we'll have lunch upstairs at the kiddy tables with TINY
chairs that make us all feel enormous. Typical meal is rice and green
beans with slices of French bread.

We have two translators (besides the 14-year olds) who are helping us.
Ozi and Eileen. Ozi is at the Görem Center and has informed us that
all the people here really like us (we spend a lot of time in the
lobby where people gawk at us and talk amongst themselves but at least
now we know they are saying good things!). Ozi came with us and
Shafak to a concert last Friday and it was really fun even though we
were only there half an hour! Turkish music is crazy and has the
mystical power of making everyone wiggle their hips to the music.
That along with night swimming made for a fun night especially when we
were in the back of Shafak's truck and caught a man in the car behind
us picking his nose! Or when Shafak turned around and said that VZ's
arm "looks like a leg". Good memories, indeed.

God has continued to bless us in so many ways and we are all growing
in Him every day. We all report feeling more at peace than ever and
hope to bring that back with us to Seattle. We are still praying for
all the dep teams, particularly Katie in the DR and the Ethiopia team.
More than anything we pray that everyone will get back to Seattle in
the perfect state of mind to embrace their lives back home and use the
deputation experience to grow even more after their return.

Speaking of God… and things he created… VZ, Dayna, and I were
swimming in the cove when a German man standing on a rock yelled
something to me and stretched out his arms. I didn't know what he was
saying so he just yelled, "Big fish!" and disappeared. Moments later
there is no one in the water and the everyone at the beach club is
crowded at the top of the stairs to the water, pointing and taking
pictures of something between us and them.

We started to freak out because we thought it was a shark. We
screamed at Doj, "ARE WE OK?!!??! DOJ WHAT IS IN THE WATER?" but no
one would answer us. Finally a huge brown head emerged from the water
and we realized it was a gigantic seal. It swam within feet of the
shore then went on its way. It a gift from God to see such a
magnificent animal we were quite gleeful when we found out that it
wasn't a shark.

Our prayer requests continue to be for team unity but ESPECIALLY for
limitless energy and ideas to keep these small humans entertained. We
also would like prayer to be a good influence on our translators and
help them in any way that we can. Sorry this was so long!


P.S. The Ak Party dominated the election last night with 49% of the
vote. Although it is strongly Islamic Tanshule seems to think that
the next five years might be the last before Turkey is ready for
democracy. We shall see.

No comments: