Sunday, June 30, 2013
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
The internship that myself and 2 other girls (Ellen, and Sarah), are participating in is a program that the disabled services of Istanbul offers, paid for by the municipal government. This program offers low-income families with disabled people or children the chance to “get away” from their challenging everyday lives for a week. There are so many families in Istanbul with disabled people that want to participate in this program, once they attend this “get away” for one week, they are not allowed to go again. Why is this program so special? As you drive into the camp, you can hear nothing but birds chirping and the wind blowing. Hard to believe since this camp is located in the middle of a city of 15 million people: a city three times the size of New York City. There are cottages everywhere, the land is full of green grass, and you can see the Bosphorous in the distance. During this week of serenity, the disabled and their families are provided with an enriching and free one of a kind experience. Their food is paid for, they are provided with numerous activities( Bosphorous boat tours, sports, computer games, playground activities, concerts and other entertainment), and they are away from many of difficulties they experience in their everyday lives. There are also psychologists that are available on call and meet with the families every few days to discuss hardships and figure out a way to make life better in the long run. This program offers a way for disabled people to feel like they are provided for, taken care of, and accepted: what an unbelievable concept and program that I am able to be a part of during my time in Istanbul.
The workers at the main disabilities services office we have come to know very well and love very much. They are baffled by the fact that us three girls not only chose to visit their country, but also chose to work and care for disabled people in Istanbul. We are the first foreigners that most of them have met, and we are the first foreigners to ever work in their office. They told us that if we were representative of all Americans, then they want to visit America because to them, we are such special people. Needless to say, we are dearly loved by these people and they are dearly loved by us. Although only one of the people we have met during this experience speaks English( Yasmine), she told us something I will never forget: “the language of emotion is one,” and this rings true when interacting with the Turkish people. Although we can maybe say 5 Turkish words, there is already a shared special bond with this people. It proves to me that although there are different cultures and different people, we are all one in the same. We all have hearts to love and emotions to speak. The language of emotion is only one.