So, I missed a day in writing but I was so utterly exhausted that night that I had to jump into bed and sleep. Yesterday was the first day that we actually participated in some events that were directly related to our course inter cultural communication. First, we visited a women’s shelter called Morcat and spoke with the director of the organization about the social issues in turkey concerning women’s rights and violence in the homes. I was in awe at the facts that she told us about abusive relationships in this country. 1/3 women will experience physical abuse sometime in their life. Another shocking fact that she told us was involving honor killings in society. Every day 4 women are murdered due to honor killings which revolves around women wanting to divorce their husbands due to physical abuse, however since this is a collective society everything must be decided as a family. When a women decides to stray from that and divorce from her husband, many families will decide together to kill the woman to save their honor. It was very interesting to speak with the director of the shelter and to learn about the deep issues of the society that tourists never see when traveling. Despite the problems, the organization has had a lot of success so far and provides the only free shelter for somebody in Istanbul.
In the afternoon,the group was split into smaller groups and went to schools to work with children ranging from ages 8 to 14. The group that I was working with that day had about 30 children to work with and for me this was the most challenging experience. I do not have a lot of knowledge or comfort when it comes to working with kids of any age. For the most part I took a passive role and let the other individuals in my group work with the children. Thankfully for the second day I will be helping with office work instead of children. It was interesting to see parts of the educational system and the schools that children attend. The facilities were very nice and I was surprised that children with such a large range of ages were learning in the same classroom.
In the evening we attended a religious cermemony performance called the whirling dervishes. It was an hour of men playing very soft music while other men literally spun around in circles. I do not recommend it, you will be disappointed.
The day before this was spent as a typical tourist day where we walked around as a large group of Americans and saw the tourist sites such as Hagia Sophia, which was originally a church, then turned into a mosque and then converted Into a museum to avoid any conflict between e two religions. We also visited the blue mosque, which is one of the largest in Istanbul.
Well, I’m off to finishe getting ready for the day and have some breakfast…I’m hungry!!!