The cay house is the first port of call of visiting buyers for the village produce. It is also the parking place for the trucks of the travelling traders who sell lentils and household goods, repair agricultural machinery and demonstrate new and amazing must have tools to the suspicious villagers.
Last week there was a fascinating display of new tools for the picking of olives. Two young men produced a marvel of mechanisation that has its own battery pack, can be worn all day and is capable of picking tons of olives each day from the lucrative olive trees. It looked like a long pole with waggling metal fingers on the ends. Clearly a lot of development time and money had gone into the machine.
The villagers looked very dubiously at this marvel of modern technology! There were dark looks from elderly men who have spent decades in the olive fields. There was much contemptuous smoking and occasional spitting to convey distrust. Glaring reached epidemic proportions as the young men prepared to demonstrate their machine. However, the demonstration was a success and it was quickly obvious that this was an efficient and very useful tool to speed the olive harvest and spare days of hard labour in the fields.
Now, raw olives fetch, in a good year 2000 ytl a ton. (Olive oil fetches more) This machine can pick a ton a day. It costs 4000 ytl to buy. It would pay for itself in two days! It is modern and in Turkey all things modern are viewed as must haves. The whole culture is geared to want to be modern.
But 4000 ytl is 4000 ytl and with sad eyes the farmers of Kirazli did their sums and realised they could not afford these wonderful tools. They just don’t have the cash flow. Maybe next year. Maybe if the government gives a grant. Maybe if the cost of credit comes down. Maybe if they sell an olive grove!
This is the awful dichotomy of Turkey – most people can’t afford modern although they welcome it with open arms.