The sun is setting, where should I camp? Come on Danielle, I have about 15 more minutes before the sun hits the horizon. I need to find a good spot before then. But this is crazy, it’s only 3:30 in the afternoon! What the hell am I going to do after I pitch my tent, it’s not like I have anything to cook! Scanning each side of the road, I found where the old road use to lie, and a nice wee stream, himmm this could be a good spot, but damn there is a small village at the top of the banks. Still slowing down trying to decide what to do, I spot the road to the village. Passing the road, I see children and women walking up and down the tiny street. Should I do it? Come on Danielle, you only have ten more minutes.
I turned my bike around and drove up the narrow street, the children parted ways and I stopped near a group of women. I’ve just entered Turkey, and have no idea about the basic words so I put my bike in neutral and make a sign of a tent and sleep. They nattered away and suggested I talk to the men who were approaching. One man pointed down the street and another started walking so I followed him to an entrance way to a house. I parked my bike outside the detached kitchen and bathroom and dismounted. I moved my helmet, and with a huge smile on my face I said ‘Salam’ (Hello in Farsi). They welcomed me once again, but not testing my luck, I ask again, tent/ camping? while making the sign with my hands… ‘No,no,no’ they point to the house making the sleeping sign. Wow, I couldn’t have asked for anything better, this is the Kurdish hospitality I’ve been experiencing for the last two weeks.
It seems to me I might have broken through yet another barrier I had put up around myself since leaving home and which was made even thicker in India. Pakistan had taught me something, trust people and you will be welcomed into the hearts of many. It’s like the three cups of tea theory’ – first cup you’re an acquaintance, second cup you’re a friend, third cup your family and they will do anything for their family.
In Iran I almost slipped back into my old ways, but my last two weeks here reminded me how good people were. In Iraq a stranger also took me in . Now I’m in Turkey, and I cannot help feeling guilty, because I cannot return what I keep on being offered, but yet I feel proud of myself in how open I’ve become as my original goal was to see into the lives of women from around the world and share a slice of my culture with them.
It’s funny, the one guy at the border who could speak English warned me about Kurds. I nodded and agreed with him. Yes, I won’t talk to a Kurds, I won’t drive at night and yes, I will stay in a hotel. How many lies can you tell at once?? Luckily I’m not Pinoccio or I’ll have a nose the length of a football field. I knew I must talk with Kurds, I knew full well, I was going to pitch a tent, I still had no Turkish money for a hotel or food and there was a possibility that I would be driving in the dark this afternoon looking for a camping spot. However, I’m not sure why this guy had a bee in his bonnet about Kurds as I’ve experienced nothing but kindness.
This is the family that was so kind to me in the village called Silopi
I spent my afternoon drinking tea ,eating dinner and having the whole village come and peer through the windows at me. The brave ones would actually come inside. My Pakistan training came in handy as I knew the etiquette on how to greet the men and woman guests differently and where I should sit in the room. In fact, in this village, the household was run in a very similar way to my adopted family in Pakistan so I didn’t feel out of place at all.
Now I sit in my room fit for a queen, with blankets and a heater all to myself, knowing my bike is safe in the house foyer downstairs. Wow, how lucky can one get?