(Our Italian volunteer Silvia Calvi, who worked with the disabled people between September – November 2017 in Sinop with our Erasmus+ European Voluntary Service project “Come As You Are” put her feelings towards Turkey in words and shared with us after she went back home.)
The sentence “Love and change the world”, from the French musical of Gérard Presgurvic based on one of the most important works of William Shakespeare expresses clearly the reason which I travel. Dreaming of improving the world and struggling to make this happen is the aim that drives me toward the destination. I fix a goal and pursue it, though I must to go until the top of the world to reach it. this time I have carried myself outside the EU’s borders , in Turkey.
Why exactly there? In fact it was the Turkey has chosen me. I was looking for an artistic project that can develop skills ot the disable people, to study the art modality that can help to facilitate their social inclusion, overcome barriers, develop new ability and the cognitive-manual skills of these people, where is possible. I have sifted the world long and wide and is emerged the name of Epeka, an association that operates in Sinop, a small Turkish resort overlooking the Black Sea.
After I was documented myself on the project that Epeka proposed and a careful evaluation of the pros and cons, I concluded that no barrier, whether linguistic, geographical or political, would have dissuade me from achieving my goal. Turkey was giving me the chance to realize what I had in mind and I caught it on the fly. I joined the project “Come as you are” – a two-month short-term EVS signed Erasmus Plus, proposed by Epeka in collaboration with the Scambieuropei association, aimed at young people until 30 years old.
Turkey’s flagship for landscaping and cultural beauties, Sinop was my home for 2 months and today continues to be it in the heart and in the head. There was no day when I did not want to walk by the sea or on the streets of the center, between palms and lights, fishing boats and rocks, music and smells Turkey. Sinop is a ferment of all these things, it is a vibrant and dynamic city capable of giving new stimuli to those who know how to grasp those. This year it was the protagonist of local art with Sinopale, a biennale of international art that can engage various industry figures to work in synergy with local people.
During my experience, did not miss the trips outside the town, in the surrounding countryside and in the main nearby cities. With members of Epeka and new friends known friends locally, I spent pleasant stays in the fascinating Turkish cities of Samsun, Ankara and Istanbul. Fundamental locations for anyone who chooses to travel to Turkey, the latter two return to the visitor a complete picture of the Turkish state, in every respect.
Located in central Anatolia, Ankara is the capital and most populous city of Turkey after Istanbul. Seat of the Turkish Parliament, the government and foreign diplomatic representations, has a modern and hectic look. Like in any other big capital, in Ankara the visitor may have the feeling of being at the center of the world. The main stages were the Ankara Castle followed by a visit to the Old Town, and the Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
Instead, the feeling that leaves Istanbul is defferent: it’s the heart of Turkey’s industry, finance and culture, and in addition to being a major tourist attraction. It’s a port megalopolis located in the northwest of the country and is crossed by the Bosphorus waters dividing the European part ( Thrace) from Asian part (Anatolia). What is the best part? Of course the answer is narrowly subjective. Still today I cannot decide why both have many things, all of them singular.
By pulling the sums at the end of the experience, Turkey has fed me in different ways: culturally, subjectively, artistically, and why not, even physically, cause I’m have eaten from God. Pardon, I should say from Allah, why don’t must forget to be in an predominantly islamic socio-cultural context, albeit very westernized.
I came back home to full hands, satisfied with myself and the work done, successfully completed cause I was able to involved the local people and leving a positive sign in their and in my life. I can say that Turkey and I have enriched each other differently, becoming very good partners for each other.