Who would know that even though summer ended every one of us is snuggled in warm blankets and winter jackets, meanwhile visiting Turkey, for my surprise i did not expect to take a swim in the sea. Mersin, a city located in the south-eastern part of Turkey, near by the Syrian border. A city where the sun is shining brightly, having drinks with amazing friends surrounded by good music and spending time with games and dancing around, a city where the waves quietly hit the coast of the most hospitable place not just for tourists, but for refugees too. We came, we saw, we learned, experienced, explored, enjoyed, met new amazing people and made memories for life.
We visited Istanbul also, the millionaire city which is energetic and wild brought to our attention its beauty and history. The time that we had, we spent it by wandering around and even sailing on the Bosphorus. After that 7 countries gathered and connected in a gorgeous place in a small but beautiful motel on the coast itself. We shared and gained experience, we learned about our similarities and differences and respected them. Turkey, Italy, Hungary, Greece, Slovakia, the UK and Macedonia, interesting coupling, isn’t it? New people, new characters, new energies which were radiating from each of them made this project even more interesting. With our same, but at some point opposite forces, thoughts, discussions, we struggled with issues on a global level related to refugees and migrant. We got the opportunity to be introduced to the detailed situation in every country and the way how the government solves them. There were lots of sad, confusing, even funny moments and resolutions such as closing the borders or making videos for a very strong propaganda that the government strongly believes in. Therefore everyone was imposed with deeply thinking how can we solve them in a more reasonable and suitable way. Even if we can not solve them, we would rather help somehow by getting others aware about the harmless refugees. Refugees for now keep the status as people who have been forced to leave their country due to escaping war, persecution, natural disaster or any kind of threat which might be a danger for their lives, despite that they are human and always will be. If they do not help themselves, no one will.
Everyone origins and has their own family, but they innocently suffer and make changes in their lives forever and struggle with meaningless procedures and torture, for which they are not obligated. They fight for a better life, as well as every one of us! One unusual task was given to us during the project. We were given roles to be refugee families who have to go through the procedure to get an asylum confirmation. The task lasted for more than 3 hours! The roles that the guards played were insolent and inhuman, thoroughly inquiring frim the police, psychologists, the doctor, the education officer… From my point of view, every one of us felt on our own skin how hard is to be a refugee and to be in that position. I admire and drop the hat to the refugees for their courage, patience as well as their faith to succeed in something, regardless of that they left their country and choose to go for something new, unfamiliar where they will face a big obstacle with people’s mentality, their thoughts and judgements, the government’s approach towards them, the opportunities that the country can give , different language, education, employment and large amount of barriers which may appear on that rough path. But the path to success is not flat. The whole project was dedicated to get aware, to get others aware, to inform and help them understand the situation. The last day we visited a school where syrian refugee kids study and went through all of this, but they welcomed us with bright smiles and hugs that were worth more than anything else. You can say that these are just children, but they have survived and have seen more than any other adult person.
They had a smile that was hiding thousands of tears. Friendly and kind. The major of Mersin was very thankful for our understanding, respecting, effort and participation in this project. And of course every Erasmus project holds the best traditional nights filled with laughter and parties that you can not find anywhere else. We even made a fire place on the beach and made music from some kind of percussion instrument, just for fun. We accepted one another as equals, played as kids, sang, danced, been crazy and enjoyed every single moment of our stay there. We visited the famous Kiz Kalesi which we explored by climbing on the castle walls, enjoying the sea wind and the best company that could ever been gathered. In the end as they say, ,,Everything that is good, lasts shortly.” The day came when we had to say our goodbyes, despite our hugs addressed with love and sadness at the same time, we stayed in contact more or less with those people. I reckon that these friendships will last for a lifetime.
Therefore people, STOP FEELING SORRY, START ACTING! Don’t be sorry for not doing something that you have really wanted or loved. Participate in anything, grab those chances that knock on your door, meet and company with others, try new things and be part of Erasmus + projects. Maybe unconsciously you can be pleasantly surprised and learn much more than you have expected. Do whatever comes up to your mind, life is too short, fight for the things you believe and love same as these innocent refugees do.