Retire Mechanical engineer. Student at California State university Channel Island studiyingAbout Me

July 26, 2015

Visit to My Village - Part Three

During my first week, I had visitors every night; some I knew, others were strangers to me.  Mother was constantly making and serving tea.

When the men came, they brought their wives and sometimes their daughters who helped mother with her cooking and chores.  Mind you, at this time of the year not all the people are in the village.

They live in Ankara, Antalya, Istanbul, Konya, Germany, France, and, if you consider me in the mix, the US. I timed my stay just before the crowds arrived. But still, at times, I felt overwhelmed with all the visitors.

I had to remember that in summer it would have been even worse. Mother told me that there are so many cars that parking is difficult. The village is just too small. If all the sons and daughters of the villagers want to live here, or at least have a summer home, the village must expand.

I suggested to the Muhtar (who is in charge of all local issues) that the village should expand to the north. That area is the only place to build because it is not fertile ground to farm.

The law states that one cannot build even on their own property, if the land is suitable for growing food. The Muhtar agreed and plans to apply to the Ministry of Agriculture to examine that area and hopefully give approval to build houses.

Once the approval comes through, the government will transfer the proposed land deeds into the treasury and the villagers will be able to buy parcels of land to build more houses.

During these evening visits, I listened to the most intriguing stories. Some I had heard before, but some were eye-opening to me.

Originally the name of our village was Sofker and later changed to Evren, meaning universe.

Our village prospered due to two major reasons.

First, back in the time when the republic was founded in1923, there were five schools built for the town of Siran and one of the schools was built in our village.

Two of the neighboring villages sent their children to be schooled here. So it is not hard to see that early education exposed the villagers to the outside world.

As the republic prospered, so the village of Evren.

Second was the fact that, before the republic was formed, half of the villagers were Greek Orthodox Christians. Living with Christians, local people learned the culture; how to farm more efficiently and make use of irrigation.

Sadly, after 1923, there were exchanges between Greece and Turkey in which the Greeks returned to Greece and the Turks who lived in Greece came back to Turkey.

In our village, most of the men work in construction. From this background there are three families whose companies have become multibillion dollar holding conglomerates. The wealth of these families and the knowledge of the population helped the village to acquire up-to-date technology and modernize.

We have our own bakery, grocery store, a mill to cut logs, a healthcare office with a full-time nurse and doctor that comes frequently, and a morgue. These companies also built a sewer system, modernized the roads, and bought the springs to the north of the village without any local government help.

Now each family pays a small amount each month to maintain and use the water. Roads have been constructed into once unreachable places. In the past, the village kept horses, cows, sheep and goats, but it was decided that, because the goats destroy the forest, that they be eliminated.

The village Muhtar requested that the Ministry of Forestry plant trees, and, in addition, several of the wealthier families planted trees on their own land as well as on common land. There are experiments going on to build a wind farm to harness electricity.

Most of the villagers have either sunroofs or solar panels that produce electricity and hot water and there are television stations with over 271 channels.

When I asked how some of the villagers could afford to use marble on their homes, I learned that to the south of Siran there is a location where marble is mined.

In fact, one of the villagers owns a marble business.

At this time of year, the typical weather is sunny in the morning and rainy in the afternoons. Because of the rainy afternoons, mushrooms flourish in the surrounding fields, growing quickly overnight.

On my solitary morning walks, I encountered villagers collecting them, and, I, too, became addicted to picking the fresh mushrooms, mushrooms as big as a double-hamburger-size bun.

The first time I brought back a backpack full as a surprise for mother, she inspected them and told me that most of them were not edible because they were too old and infested with worms. After that, I made sure to pick the freshest mushrooms.

I enjoyed the fact that I could do something for my mother and in return, she made a variety of dishes for me. My favorite is quite simple; just wash the mushrooms, sprinkle with salt, and microwave for a minute or two.

Because Mother does not have a microwave, she cooked them on her wood stove and surprisingly, they tasted even better than using a microwave.

One day, my cousin came over with a sack of potatoes, called corn potatoes from Israel. Several years ago, he brought back enough potatoes to plant several acres. They became so popular that he cannot keep up with the demand.

Mother cooked them just perfectly and they were moist and delicious. I have decided that mushrooms and cooked potatoes are my snack with cay.

Now, back to the story about wood stoves.

Even with all the modernizations, they are still quite popular here. Because it is cold at night, even in the summer, the wood stoves heat the homes better than central heating. As for firewood, every year the entire village cuts their own wood after the Muhtar designates the area to log.

Several evenings, after mother retired to her room, the guys my own age would send their wives home and stay on. We would talk and laugh about the old times until late into the night.

Even with all the reminiscing, hiking to the summits was still on my mind.

Part Four