I don’t think J and I have missed a Children’s Day since we first became associated with our village primary school. Nisan yirmi üç (April twenty third) has been burned into our diary for a long time. We couldn’t forget anyway because there is always a phone call from the staff to keep us on track!
Children’s Day here in Turkey was instigated by Atatürk in the early days of the Republic. Here in Okçular it’s a chance for the children to lay on a show for their parents and grandparents. It is also a day when even the tiniest tot will have a chance to bellow greeting or slogan into a microphone!
Every class gets to dress up and dance, recite or perform a skit – this year it was all dancing.
the youngest danced dressed in regional costumes as they assembled a map of the country
Then it was the turn of other classes to turn on the style . .
There’s a prize of a Mars bar to the first one to spot mum in the crowd!
the top table is all very well . .
. . if you can see through the wall-to-wall photo-ops
Part way through the proceedings there was a pause for presentations to parents and a local business couple who have helped the school through the year. We’ve been caught on the hop by these surprise presentations ourselves previously so we were enjoying cheering on the latest group of recipients as they smiled awkwardly and shuffled from foot to foot in front of everyone. And that was when they caught us again!
Then it was back to the festivities . .
‘Turkey is my life’ – may reality never intrude
Followed by photo credits to a great staff . .
. . and finally, that all-important endorsement from Yeliz
Just a taster of what was a delightful morning for us. J and I love these people, this village and this country. May these kids grow up in a world free of conflict and may humanity learn that we have more in common than we often think and any difference is only skin-deep.
Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü