Volunteering in an elderly house

421, this was the number of the bus that I was taking every Wednesday to the neighborhood of Keçiören – not very far, but also not near from the center of Ankara. When I got out from the bus I could reach the elderly house in 5 minutes. Between April – May 2017 I did my short term EVS in Turkey. Once a week I volunteered in the elderly house which was unique experience for me.

DSC06225DSC05979Every time when I went there I used to see some old men who was sitting on the bench in front the house. On my very first day I joined him on the bench because I needed to wait for another volunteer. The name of the old man was Ahmet. He was very nice to me and although we could not understand each other he brought me a cup of tea. Since that meeting every time when I saw him he was giving me hugs and it made my days better, I believe he felt good too. The elderly house has a place for praying, eating and living room where seniors are watching television or having conversation. We usually played tavla (backgammon) while trying to have talks with them. Some of them due illness needed a care just like for children. But being with different people every time, also from foreigner countries makes their life in the house better. Also there was craft room where we were supposed to do activities but seniors usually they were too tired, so it was hard to involve them. But I remember one lady who loved doing crafts. She showed us her room and I was surprised of how talented and creative she is. She has made many handmade fridge magnets, the wall clock and many other things.

I had my two favorite ladies with whom I spend most of time in elderly house. One of them was new and she has been living there for 3-4 months only.  The other one was there for more than 4 years and she told me that she has 9 children. Imagine! Those ladies taught me how to knit and said that I also need to learn how to sew, so I can sew my ripped jeans (as one day I was wearing ripped jeans and they laughed a lot about my ”Macedonian fashion”). Every time I went to this elderly house, I felt very comfortable, because everyone was very kind. Starting from the people who live there, then the workers… they were all so friendly and helpful. So why to volunteer in an elderly house? Although you cannot do much for the seniors, at least you can give them your time, your smile and make their sometimes lonely days more cheerful. Because the little things in life can make huge difference. We are just not aware of it yet.

Marijana Gavrilova

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