29 Temmuz 2012 Pazar
The Utopia of Emracing the World; Live with Us Share with Us
Ozlem, one of the villagers is telling her friend, Cemile on the street, “A young woman, Maya, from Canada is living with us currently. We eat together in the backyard of our home under the grapes tree, talk about our traditions, weddings, dishes and songs. Hey wait! We also learn the nicest words in our mother tongues. We come together at the same place every night when the evening breeze cools the weather down. The lovely conversation goes on all night. Why don’t you join us tonight?” Ozlem is not the only local person who is having special time in the summer time. There are lots of other local families enjoying the same experience in the village called Ekinci (Aydiy former name in Arabic) in Antakya, Turkey. How does it happen? Servas volunteers from different countries and our country come to stay in the village with the families for a while within the Live with Us Share with Us Children programme. They teach kids different subjects such as dancing, drama, pantomime, music, languages, maths, and recycling, environmental issues and children rights during the cool hours of the day. Servas has completed the programme the fourth time this summer.
Selen often did the translation and make the program flew smoothly. She put her first step into the international arena at her early age as a school girl. I, as a Servas peace Secretary, helped kids learn and experience the idea of Servas by creating this Servas event in their village, taught them how to say and write “peace” in many languages, explained them not to discriminate, to respect to differences using so many examples from the world. They were so surprised to discover some ways of recycling with every day materials. For example planting tomatoes and peppers in the plastic bottles and hanging them upside down was amazing for them.
The volunteers changed families every four or five days because we wanted to allow volunteers and families know as many people as they can to develop life-long relationships. They made special friendship in that short time. When they left they grew happy tears in their eyes. Maybe they didn’t speak their languages very well but it was not difficult for their bodies to express their love. However they had a big complaint during their stay. It was when the host families insisted on eating more and more each time by saying in the local language, Arabic, `Kili Kili` which means ‘eat’ ‘eat’ in English. When the volunteer friends passed by the neighbours every day they stopped by for a coffee and made strong connections with the sweet people. Servas volunteers also explored the roots of multicultural society, togetherness with differences when they visited the old streets, houses, the mosques, Allawi tombs, churches and the synagogue in the same street in Antakya. We discovered how the dreams of the children grew from the local to the universal level with their body in the fourth year of the Servas Live with us Share with us Programme.
It was the time to say Goodbye after the 12-day-stay in the village with the kids. The passionate volunteers left the village and the kids with eyes full of tears, hearts full of love, minds full of new ideas and cultural experiences, new stories and strong feelings of brotherhood with local people. For them, Ekinci (Aydiy) village, Antakya and Turkey are the special places which they will always carry with themselves and tell about. Internet will be the strong connector of the volunteers and kids so they will be able to keep in touch with each other and ease the pain of being separate until they meet again; most probably next year. So they will keep growing up together. For the kids and the volunteers, the people of the world are not foreigners but friends whom we haven’t met yet. The utopia of embracing the world has made a big step with this programme. By the way, we had good news towards the end of the programme, which would bring the utopia to reality a little bit closer. Servas Brasil and Portugal would like to organise the same programme in their countries next year. Maybe we go to help. To chase our utopia.
Servas Peace Secretary of Turkey