EVS in Turkey of First Hand!.
It is a great pleasure to receive positive feedback from the volunteers we have sent through the Erasmus + program to the EVS service. Kristina, who is currently at the EVS service in Turkey, told us about the project “Watch the eyes of the EVS world” of our partners from the T.E.A.M. Below you can read how Kristina experienced the first month of EVS! We remind you that applications for the new cycle of the same project are in progress, and you can register by 20 May 2018 at e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Greetings to future volunteers! I think many of you will be the first EVS experience and I am confident that after getting to know so many new inspirational people that you have already decided for this adventure 🙂 A special project like this one, located in southeastern Turkey, therefore close to the border with Syria, can cause people to be afraid of the dangers of a near-coming war. The concern is not necessary because we live in a small village of about 10,000 people from different countries, including the Syrians, and it is clear that there is no hatred since everyone understands that the war has a political nature and that people need to live together. Also, many of us are meeting the Turkish language for the first time and that sounds complex first, although some may well know that the soap from Istanbul is running. But as part of the project, we have the right to learn Turkish once a week and a lot of opportunities in everyday life for practising the learned words.
Weekly life takes place right next to the beach where we also have 2 apartments and mentor Yusuf who is our first neighbour and always ready to organize working and leisure activities. We used some free days to explore the wider Mersin area (a wonderful UNESCO site Kiz Kalesi Castle, Cave System and Canyon of Cennet-Cehennem, Silky Crystal Clear Area and a fun city with lots of places to go to Mersin) and Turkey (next month we will visit Kapadok and Istanbul).
The working day consists of activities involving a workshop with ideas for presenting the project (protection of the beach for sea turtles of the species Chelonia mydas and Caretta caretta, the need for better management of waste and raising awareness of the natural value of the area), then cleaning the beach for 3 hours daily and preparing meals – in our case (a group of 10 people) we decided to divide into a rotating group of four people who are in charge of preparing breakfast and lunch for two days so we constantly change and learn different cultures through cooking 🙂 I have to say we have a great group and mentors so we make every decision together, which can be a longer-lasting process, but I think most of the 24-hour time we spend together has very good co-operation with lots of jokes and learning. My conclusion is that people who apply for this project they already have a good heart and an open mind so it is much easier to tolerate the relative isolation of the site and the folklore of a large group of people.
My primary goal as a biologist was to study the sea turtles on the beach where they lay eggs. In Croatia, I work as part of the Blue World organization that deals with the protection and study of sea turtles and dolphins (mostly glaciers) used by our Adriatic Sea as a feeding ground and come just from these beautiful sandy beaches of Turkey, then Cyprus, Tunisia and Greece. Depending on the temperature, the sea turtles go out on the shore in the early morning of May, so we have already had the opportunity to see the green appetite for the eggs and before that incredible activity in the sea when a lot of turtles are collected in the vicinity of the beach for mating. Unfortunately, in April we saw the first turtles on the beach since many of them are victims of accidental catches in mesh skins and plastic waste problems that, as they resemble their natural food jams, are often replaced by food that finally samples digestive problems and premature death.
There is a large population of stray dogs who often love volunteers to “defend” us from the local population, which is of course not necessary. Many of them are castrated and vaccinated by local asylum. Upon arrival in Kazan, one first noted a major problem with the lack of waste collection and recycling. Even though they own a recycling factory, it is often used by refugees and poorer people who often have to open their waste bags from the beach to collect enough waste to buy food. It remembers us that, although we are primarily coming to Turkey to protect the turtles, we must not neglect the understanding of the economic and political situation. Since the sake of hard life, the people who are protecting nature may not be the majority but they have a big heart so that you will be sure that this project will expand the scope of many cultures in this area. They are all characterized by hospitality and incredible life energy that is, possibly, a reflection of the beautiful and diverse nature of southern Turkey 🙂 Learn how the world, despite the many conflicts and problems, is a beautiful place!”