Another Drop In The Ocean

Turkey is in turmoil, entering a third week of protests against a backdrop of tear gas, rubber bullets and excessive police repression – this is not a happy country right now! It’s hard to know what to do, especially as a foreign resident without a vote. We have a voice via the internet but if we are too strident we risk censure – foreign criticism is a sensitive issue in this intensely proud nation.

I often pontificate that we should ‘put our money where our mouth is’ rather than grumble or mutter over a beer in some bar. Move the mountain one stone at a time – put our own drops in the bucket and all that sort of stuff. Easy to say, less easy to do.

That said, J and I are luckier than most. Thanks to the Okçular Book Project and all of our supporters at home and around the world we have funds available that may not cure all that ails this beautiful country but can, at least, brighten the day for some of our fellow villagers. This is the story, with pictures, about our village primary school’s end of year outing . .

DEKAMERFollowing a chat with the teachers, who had to overcome a load of bureaucratic crap for permission, we decided to take the whole school for a visit to the DEKAMER Marine Turtle Rehabilitation Centre at İztuzu Beach near Dalyan. Although only 10 kms away we had been amazed to learn that most of the children knew nothing about the place and what it tries to achieve. We arranged for all the children and staff to be fed an early lunch of pide (Turkish pizza) and ayran, a deliciously healthy yogurt drink. Then it was on to the buses and off to the beach . .

ayran and pide

ducks in a row

There our group was met by one of the volunteers who did a terrific job of explaining everything and introducing the children to some of the deeply traumatised ‘patients’. Perhaps the most poignant was a 65 year old Caretta that had suffered severe head and back injuries from an unguarded boat propeller. Another had lost a front limb after becoming entangled in fishing line.

65 years old and in care

Our volunteer ‘teacher’ did an amazing job and it was a delight to see how much the children were engaged with her and the subject at hand.


After some excellent educational films a series of questions and the enthusiastically correct responses from the children and our teachers convinced J and I that this had been a really worthwhile effort.


The volunteers were thanked and the Book Project gave the children a 100 lira note to donate to the centre. A perfect ending to a perfect day – another little drop in the ocean so to speak!

donation from Okçular school and Book Project

Alan Fenn, for the Okçular Book Project


12 thoughts on “Another Drop In The Ocean

  1. It’s lovely to see the children so absorbed and responsive. So many children here get little chance to travel… even short-range.
    I remember in the UK, when I was in teacher training (don’t ask!) we took a class from Redbridge to the Planetarium. Many of them had never been ‘to London’ before.
    It’s great to see children learn about their environment – hopefully they will grow up to care for it.

  2. A very precious drop in the ocean indeed, what an eye opener it must have been for the children; seeing is believing, this I am sure will be a trip to remember for them- be proud: ) really felt for the 65 year old Caretta..

    1. . . the response of the children – the way they engaged was a delight. Our volunteer was so good at holding their interest and enthusiasm – and thank you for the accolade.

  3. One of the things said by numerous talking heads during the Gezi protests is that Turks generally don’t care about the environment! The outing organized for these children was a terrific way to raise consciousness about the wonderful world of nature around them and to answer that anyone, once given the proper exposure and opportunity, cares very deeply about the environment. Good for the Okçular Book Project!

  4. I have the greatest admiration for the work Janet and you are doing and have done and especially for the empathy and compassion it expresses. Thank you for the photos especially; they communicate so well with your words. Without a doubt this “field trip” in a likelihood has changed a child’s (perhaps more than one) life in a significant and meaningful way.


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