Incredible Okçular!


Okçular-Village-Guide_1This coming year will see the gradual winding down of the Okçular Book Project. It was started by way of giving something back to our village for all the love and support we have been given since we were fortunate enough to land in the lap of this farming community.

Originally conceived as a small booklet that would tell a few stories, that could be sold to raise a few lira that could be used for the benefit of the community, the project mushroomed into two guides that over the years has raised thousands upon thousands of lira. To say that our expectations were exceeded would be a gross understatement!

With the exception of two items, a playground in the village centre and a village photo archive, all other projects funded from the books have centred around the school. The creation of the beautiful murals and gardens with Gülay Çolak and Fiona MacRae that so transformed the formerly drab, utilitarian seat of learning came first.

gulay fiona

Fiona and Gülay

the old geezer

the Old Geezer bending his back . . again!

mural crewthe murals crew

This was followed by wi-fi for the whole school; bicycle racks; a library in every classroom; the restoration of a beautiful old wooden outdoor chess set and making a tiled board; the funding of a complete science cupboard.


Ok school watering sys

Okcular school10

Recently the book money provided an agricultural-grade watering system that will keep the garden plants and young trees alive throughout the long, hot summer holidays. This was followed by steel railings to protect the the system and the plants from over exuberant ball games. And there is still plenty of cash in the kitty to do more as needs arise!

So, you may well ask why we feel it is time to wind the Book Project down – it’s a good question. The answer has everything to do with need for complete rewrites and re-vamping of both guides which would entail a huge amount of time and work and the fact that neither of us is getting any younger and there are many other things/projects we want and need to find time for.

Anyway, moving on – 23rd of April is National Sovereignty and Children’s Day here in Turkey and each year we go down to our village school to show our support for the efforts of the children and teachers in their celebration. Here are a few photos to give you a taste:

Okcular school3

Okcular school4

Okcular school5


Okcular school6

Okcular school7

the pre-school class getting their ducks in a row – sort of!

Okcular school8

okcular school9

Part way through the proceedings J and I were startled to hear our names and a summoning over the audio system. Mystified and a tadge embarrassed in front of all the children and parents, we gathered at the rostrum where there followed a fulsome thank you from the head teacher for the support given by us through the Book Project over the years. As I shuffled my feet, J was presented with a wonderful armful of flowers and promptly burst into tears!

Okcular school1

Okcular school2

. . in the national colours of Turkey, too!

Alan Fenn, ‘Ambushed’ but very happy to be part of Okçular Köyü

20 thoughts on “Ambushed!

  1. Well done to you both. It’s great to give back to your Community. Wish more people did it. Life’s too short to spend it just taking. Mary.

  2. Sniff sniff from this end, how so wonderful – a huge, amazing effort from you for this wonderful cause for the children and how lovely to see their appreciation, so well done to you all, enjoy these beautiful, well deserved flowers:) Cok sevgiler, Ozlem xx

    1. . . it’s been loads of fun and it isn’t over completely, just winding down slowly. And thank you and to everyone who bought the books and made it possible.

  3. The out come of you writing the books has been amazing I know how much enjoyment you have both received from seeing all the things that the money has changed specially for the school, it was lovely to see how much it has all be appreciated and the flowers are lovely. Well Done to every one who helped.

  4. What a wonderful thing you have done. You have all my admiration. And since I just love little children, thank you for sharing those pictures of the children performing. They are so cute!!

  5. What an impressive list of contributions from the books funds. I’m so in awe of the projects you undertake – I think it’s grand that the school managed to surprise you with a reminder that they still appreciate all you’ve done.

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