Journey Reports

Turkey   July 13th 2016, Amasra, Turkey
Tschau a nie / Life values


Report on Don Bosco, Istanbul


Tschau a Nie

This means “how are you?” in Kurdish. My answer would be “Beshem” (I'm fine). From my experiences in Timor I've learned, that learning a foreign language enables one to gain access to the culture of this language, perfectly.

The children we've been in contact with for the past 3 weeks were persecuted Christians from Irak. During the week, we played with children between 5 and 14 years for 3 to 4 hours a day.

At first, the kids were rather shy and when we tried to approach them they reacted by facing away. However, a few minutes later, after having scored the first goal in a soccer game, confident of victory, we already fell in one another's arms.

Thanks to playing games, our relation to the children soon became much more closer and intimate. Once in a while, when we were taking a break, we had to think about what Don Bosco one said: “Look at a child when it is playing and when it is eating; then you know how it is feeling.” The people living in Irak are suffering from war since 2003. This means that those children playing in front of me have been growing up in war. They told us about low-flying planes throwing bombs. One child said it was normal to pass by a dead body when walking in the streets. An instance later, the same child runs towards a basketball that is approaching it. In this moment, only the ball, the basket and the game exists. This child luckily can stay at the oratory of Don Bosco.

Everytime I've been working with children, I find it astonishing how they are able to cope with their horrible experiences. The Salesians' method is the game. Dammed energy, anger or the frustration of having to stay at a place without friends, at a place that is not “home”, is converted into positive energy by playing games.

The short, but unbelievable intense time at the Salesians in Istanbul has make us think very deeply. We should be so happy having grown up in a country, where we were able to go to school without having the fear of being killed by a bomb. We were able to say that we are an alter boy and a Christian without being discriminated or physically punished by our fellow classmades. We were able to choose what we want to do with our lives. For us, there were no fears that one day the university we were studying at, may be turned into a military base or that it could be bombed.

The freedom in which we are living in, is the highest of all goods. That's for sure.

{Translation from German: Jessica}


Life values

Now our first cooperation project with the Salesians of Don Bosco in Istanbul is already over. What weeks have that been!

When I started this trip on 10th April, of course, I already knew Don Bosco and the work they do worldwide. But I did not knew this particular spirit, which one experiences when one himself, personally, experiences the functioning of Bon Bosco. The last three weeks gave our project a lot of sense, even more than it already had. That is why I am very happy and very motivated because I know that we cycle for an organization with such characteristics.

On weekends, we met with a group of 60 to 70 refugees from Iraq, who now live in Turkey, waiting for a desired visa for Australia, the United States, for Canada or Europe. With them, we have had very deep and personal conversations in which they told us about their experiences in the war. The two main reasons to leave their homes were the constant, great danger from attacks to their cities, but also the brutal persecution suffered by Christians in the Middle East.

When we went the first day to the "Oratorio", I did not expect to find such a special place. A space created by Don Bosco which gives these young people the opportunity to live for a few hours together in fellowship, with sports, and for common prayers. When we are small, our parents teach us values ​​for life to grow as a person, values which are necessary in any circumstances. So, I can specifically say that this space, and Don Bosco anyway besides of the work they do, is also a school of life at all, where they teach and strengthen the already highest values: respect, sharing, to take care of the other, humility, education, hospitality, generosity, ...

"Don Bosco has made me smile again". With this sentence a boy answered us, who we asked for his opinion of this organization. This sentence I liked best, but I assure that the responses we received to our question about Don Bosco, make us proud, his name written on our chest, to carry through the world.

Thanks to this three weeks an idea confirmed in me which I have always had: the good is stronger than the evil. And I continue to believe it. When I hear talks about organizations like this, words are dropped like "friendship", "love", "sharing", "being happy" ... And if on the other hand IS is mentioned, the dominant words are "kill", "hate" , "destroy" ... Suppose that we would have a three year old child that knows nothing of life and religions, and if we ask what it prefers, so we all know what it would respond to us.

Today we are again on the road traveling. And even if it is the first day, the terrain did not spare us and made us sweat properly, at more than 30 degrees Centigrade heat and slopes, one after another, from 10 to 15%. Nevertheless, we remain highly motivated and have the desire to discover new realities.

I wish to thank wholeheartedly brother Jacky and all Salesians of Istanbul for unforgettable weeks they have given us!

{Translation from German: Webmaster}

 i20160713-01 i20160713-02Jakobs girlfriend Valerie came to visit us and was a big support :)^ Jakobs girlfriend Valerie came to visit us and was a big support :) ^
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Comments to this report:

Christoph Reuter writes:

July 13rd 2016, 22:22

Hallo Jakob und Ernest.
Ihr beide seid einmalig. Ich finde es großartig was ihr mit den Kindern unternommen habt. Ich bin unglaublich stolz auf euch. Es ist mir eine Ehre euch zu kennen. Macht weiter so.

Burkhard writes:

July 14th 2016, 19:41

Bei allem Respekt vor eurer Liebe zu Verfolgten: Bitte, lehrt niemanden DEMUT.
Ich bin weder für Demut noch für Hochmut, sondern ganz einfach für MUT! Demut dient immer nur den Herrschenden. Hochmut kommt immer vor dem Fall, aber Mut ist etwas, das wir brauchen, um uns gegen Unterdrückung zur Wehr zu setzen.

Danke für euer soziales Engagement! Burkhard

Berit Weber writes:

July 15th 2016, 14:09

Hallo Jakob, hola Ernest

Wem auch immer Ihr begegnet:
Lächelt ihn an.
Zeigt ihm Euer menschliches Gesicht.
Dalai Lama

Weiterhin viel Erfolg für dieses großartige Projekt
Berit Weber

Heimgard und Ewald writes:

July 18th 2016, 11:49

Lieber Jakob, lieber Ernest!
Wir haben mit Interesse euren Bericht von Don Bosco in Istanbul gelesen. Wenn man nun täglich hört, wie instabil auch die Lage in der Türkei werden könnte, ist es besonders wichtig, dass es Institutionen gibt, die sich um kriegsgeschädigte Kinder kümmert. Nur so kann es möglich werden, dass die nächste Generation Frieden, Gemeinschaft und Mitmenschlichkeit erlebt. Und euere Aktion hilft mit, dass man mehr Einblick bekommt,wie hilfreich die Arbeit von Don Bosco ist.Wir erzählen allen unseren Freunden von euch, dass wir euch persönlich kennenlernen durften und von eurem langen Weg, den ihr noch vor euch habt. Wir wünschen euch alles Liebe und Gute für euere weitere Fahrt, Passt auf euch auf!
Heimgard und Ewald

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