This Week in Kirazli – January 2007

Last Thursday the Iman put out the call for the people to gather to pray for rain.  It was treated as a festival, the village women pulled carpets and rugs out onto the streets and gathered in chattering, excited groups, a special dessert of honey soaked grains, rice, sesame seeds and walnuts was made and generous portions were handed out to everyone (including us).  Then as the Iman intoned the special prayer for rain all the villagers stood with their arms stretched out and their fingers hanging towards the ground.  The next day it rained – for an hour.  Not enough for the fields but enough to encourage the faithful.

A few cold days followed with a brisk wind from the north making working in the shade miserable but the stonemasons worked on and we hung around shivering and making repeated trips inside to warm by the soba and drink tea before venturing out again.

Sezai has a buyer for his land!  He is fired with enthusiasm and goodwill to all men (and women!).  He has decided this is a new chapter in his life.  He will marry now as soon as possible and he will never drink again, he won’t fight anyone and he will pay taxes!  If he managed one out of three of these things we will be amazed.  Soon we will be meeting the intended Mrs Sezai so we may give an opinion on her suitability.

Last week I needed emergency dental work, a huge abscess was causing me considerable pain.  I rang the private hospital is Kusadasi at one o’clock and they said they would see me at two thirty (tooth hurty!).  Treatment was beyond efficient!  Not only did my abscess get dealt with but some pretty major cosmetic dentistry I needed was also done.  The price I had been quoted for the cosmetic work in the UK – £3500, in Turkey £870! And all the work was done in four days and the result is amazing – so I am smiling loads now.

Despite nasty toothache and the usual trials you get from working in pretty primitive conditions (try sharing a toilet that only has a sheet of plastic for a door with ten builders)   the good days outweigh the bad, and the warm sun is more frequent than cloud or rain. 

Today I spent several hours patiently and contentedly cleaning the exterior walls and window reveals of excess cement.  The sun was warm on my back and the stone radiated heat onto my face, the quartz and mica glittered in the vary coloured blocks like small rainbows.  Around me the men were working steadily, occasionally singing, often laughing and joking.  The village was quiet and our neighbours sent over two trays of fresh borek for a mid afternoon snack.  I think what it would have been like if I still worked in the UK – sitting at a desk through the dark days of winter with the only brightness coming from a computer screen, commuting in the dismal mornings in the rain, having to go to meetings for stuff I didn’t care about.  Thank god (any god) for the opportunities we have and choices we make to take advantage of them.
posted 01-02-2007