By: Esmeralda KASHARI

Travelling is always a new experience which exposes us to new cultures, traditions, landscapes, people. Either if we visit the same place twice or more, the experience is never the same. My EVS journey in Turkey has been definitively  a journey of learning, improving and exploring.
The last place visited was Akhisar, a small town of Manisa Province, Aegean region of Western Turkey.
The town itself is small but you can easily spot the warm hospitality, kindness and spontanity of the locals.
I was invited and hosted by Akhisar Youth Center (Genclik Merkezi). The Youth Center was fully equipped with facilities to provide different kind of activities for youngsters, kids, elderly people or people with disabilities. The main things to me, important to be mentioned are the high motivation and the fresh spirit of the working-team.
During my two-days visit I had the chance to visit the current Youth Center building and the new Youth Center which was under construction and which will offer more space and variety of activities such as: Basketball, tennis, theater, professional music room, workshop’ classrooms ect.
I attended guitar and violin lessons with the eager teenager interested and passionated about music.

I was involved on their activities during the two days of my visit.
On the first day we(together with the Youth Center team) and the group of kids from guitar class, visited the elderly house  ‘Huzurevi Yasli Bakim ve Rehabilitasyon Merkezi’. The center for third-aged people was situated on a walking distance from the city’ center.  The number of the people living there was considerable. We stayed for a couple of hours there where the kids played the guitar and sang different songs. The atmosphere was cheerful and they enjoyed the time spend all together. After the kids finished their  ‘mini-show’, some residents of the Elderly Center also sang songs which were accompanied with the applauses of all the participants. 

 

The second day started with the delicious and famous Turkish breakfast(Kahvalti) together with the working team of the Youth Center and the team of the center for disabled kids(Özel Bizim Çoçuklarimiz).
After we went to the center ‘Özel Bizim Çoçuklarimiz’ where we brought T-shirts of the Youth Center and paintings. They stamped their hands and wrote their names on them.
There was not something more worth it as looking those happy faces and their enthusiasm.


The devotion of the team at the center could easily be noticed on the relationship with the kids, their mutual communication. To me the most touchy moment was: as I was visiting the backyard of the center I saw three horses and obviously came up into my mind to ask why they needed the horses. The majority of the kids loved the horses and  the manager told me several cases of children who never spoke a word and after having time with horses, playing and riding, they had start talking their first words.

The last visit, but not less important, was in a family where we went to donate a four-wheeled chair for a woman who had the bad luck of not being able to walk anymore as she used to do before. The chair she was currently using was too old, so the Youth Center team had collected recycling materials for some months and finally they made it to get a new chair for her. 

I belive that if everyone takes even a modest initiative which can positively affect the people' life around them or the community we live in, the whole society we live in would have another picture compared to the one we have now.

Special acknowledgement to: Akhisar Youth Center' team(Mr.Hasan Hüseyin Oktay, Murat Çabuk, Duygun Sen Çabuk, Bilal Lenk), Özel Bizim Çoçuklarimiz team(Mr.Mücahit Şahin and Mrs.Nilgün Şahin) and System and Generation(my hosting organization).

 

Looking forward to see you all again!