In the morning we drove towards Horasan, a town in Erzurum Province, East Anatolia where we stopped at a river bank and had our breakfast of tea and egg sandwiches. We lazed around enjoying the river view and I did some reading. Soon two friendly, cheerful Turkish boys, dressed in only their swimming trunk, came by and chatted with the few english words that they knew. They invited us over to their picnic spot but we declined. After a while, they left. Twenty minutes later the same boys came back, accompanied by another boy and their two older sisters. They also brought with them two live trout.
>> Cheeky little boys.
The live trout they brought us >>
We chatted, oh well, it was more pointing at things and having them say it in Turkish and us saying it in English. Also, before we left Malaysia, I had some Turkish phrases printed on a small piece of paper. With the paper in hand, the girls thought us how to properly pronounce some of the words. We were teaching each other our different languages.
We gave the boys some packets of wafer biscuits and we took some photos with Our Sorento. Half an hour passed, the girls invited us over but again we politely declined. The sisters were very insistent and dragged mum and I over to where they were having their picnic lunch. Mum and I walked about 500 meters away until we could no longer see dad but we soon spotted where the boys and girls were picnicking. Their mothers invited us to sit and immediately we had lunch of grilled chicken and veg. The boys were served first before the ladies get to tuck in. Within minutes, their fathers came in their farmer’s tractor. The ladies immediately started to plate up some chicken and veg for the two men, who then walked over to dad and had their lunch with him.
During lunch we were introduced to the two families, mainly which kid belongs to whom. Mr. Cemil Egem and his wife, Nisha, has four sons – Amir Khan, Riduan, Urmet and Mohamed. Mr Memet and his wife has two boys (Mustapha and Mohamed) and two daughters (Ilar and Sudanur). Ilar and Sudanur are Quran teachers. The two families were very religious and very proud of it. Soon, the girls started reciting verses of the Quran from memory. Even Mustapha, the youngest of the children, gave a very good recitation of the Quran. We told them that we are Christians, but this did not bother them at all. In fact, they asked me to recite some of our prayers. I do not have any parts of the bible memorized, so I recited the Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary etc instead. We were going back and forth reciting our respective prayers or verses for a while.
Soon tea was served. By this time, the boys have already hijacked my camera and are happily taking photos of their fishing and swimming activities.
>> Here’s one of the photos the boys took.
Ilar and Sudanur started to turn on Turkish music on their mobile phones and proceeded to dance. Mum and I watched as they showed us the dance. Pretty soon, I joined in the dance. We danced till Mr. Mehmet and Mr. Cemil returned from lunch with dad. We then took loads of photos with the two families and said our goodbyes. Both families invited us over to their house, 4km away for dinner. (The families had requested that we do not post any of the ladies’ photos online. So, I have shown only photos with the men and boys here.)
>> Mr Cemil Egem (L) and Mr Memet (R).
>> Me and the boys. I hope I remembered who’s who correctly. So here it goes, from L to R, Riduan, Mustapha, me, Mohamed, Amir Khan.
The girls walked with mum and I to where dad was and we said goodbye to them. Dad told us that Mr Cemil and Mr Memet had insisted that we call at their house.
It is already 4pm. How time flies when you are having fun. So, we decided to pack our stuff and drive to Kirkgozeler for a short visit. Kirkgozeler is a small village and as we drove through, the boys spotted us and came running. Mum and I got out of the car and headed for the grocery store to buy some drinks and titbits to bring with us on our visit. Meanwhile, dad told the four boys to squeeze into Our Sorento and drove the short distance to where their farmhouse are located. We had tea in Mr. Memet’s house. We chatted some more and the girls brought a big sunflower head and placed it in the middle of where we were seated. Immediately the family started picking on the seed and eating the kernel and spitting out the hull. They were doing it at such speed that we were amazed. We have never seen sunflower seed dehulled at such speed – by the time we manage to dehull one, they have done like five. They are real experts at it. The sunflower seeds are eaten fresh, unlike the roasted ones we are used to in Malaysia. Mr. Cemil soon came and both of the men and all the boys took us around the farm and the tiny knitted wear / clothes / shoe shop that they run. The kids had fun showing us around the farm house and the various animals they own – cows, horse, chickens. Mr. Cemil also showed dad his new tractor and trailer.
>> The calf and cow in the farm. The rest of the cows were out grazing.
We were about to leave but Mr. Cemil asked us over to his house, next door, instead. We were served fresh cucumber with salt, fruits and nuts. The ladies were cooking and the boys were again busy taking photos with our camera. Soon Memet’s older brother and his nephew, who is a soldier in Ankara but on holiday, came over.
>> Another photo the boys took of Mr. Cemil chatting with us. The hall is also the boys room at night.
Mr Cemil took us outside to wash ourselves and get ready for dinner. We sat on the floor around a low round table. Mustapha said prayers and all of us dug in. We had the privilege of observing another custom, the men and guests ate first. The ladies and children of the family sat in another room and only ate once the men were done. The ladies and men socialise in separate area, but as guest, mum and I took turns chatting both with the men and the ladies.
Mr. Cemil and Mr. Memet invited us to stay the night but we did not want to inconvenience them, so we took our leave. After exchanging gifts, we hugged and bade our farewell. The little boys, especially Mustapha was disappointed that we could not stay longer and shed tears as we left. We were very moved by their generosity and hospitality. They were not very rich but their generosity speaks volume. We promised to send post cards of our journey and hopefully find time to drop by again on our return journey.
>> Cucumber dipped in salt snack. We have seen ladies at the shops and market buying kilos of cucumber before but never understood why so much cucumber was needed. Now we know.
>> Old tractor trailer.
>> The farm house we visited
>> Very yummy dinner of braised chicken, soup, spaghetti and bread with fruits. Men ate first. Ladies and children only eat after the men are done. As guests, mum and I were allowed to join the men for dinner.