Texans experience Turkish culture by volunteering

Volunteers Sherri Outler (left) and Margot Marshall (right) helped distribute aid packages to families in need during Eid al-Adha. (Photo: Cihan)
Volunteers Sherri Outler (left) and Margot Marshall (right) helped distribute aid packages to families in need during Eid al-Adha. (Photo: Cihan)


Date posted: October 13, 2014

After helping to distribute charity Kimse Yok Mu’s (Is Anybody There) Eid al-Adha care packages to families in Turkey, four Americans travelling across the country shared their satisfying experiences with local Turkish families.

Lisa Saunders, Salil Ahuja, Sherri Outler and Margot Marshall returned to the US on Monday after spending over a week in Turkey. They began their trip on Oct. 4 in İstanbul, where they worked with Kimse Yok Mu, the largest volunteer and global aid organization in Turkey, to deliver meat to families in need during the holiday known as the Feast of the Sacrifice. Three of the four travelers are members of the St. James Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas, and came in partnership with the Dialogue Institute Southwest. The institute is a non-profit organization that looks to create peaceful exchanges between people of different faiths.

The Texans spoke with Today’s Zaman about their encounters with Turkish culture and the Islamic faith at a very local level. Because of their contacts in the institute, the volunteers were able to travel to nine cities in nine days. During their trip, though, unlike most tourists, the group had the opportunity to have dinner with local Turks in their own homes.

Outler explained: “You really learn more about Islam when you are talking to Muslims rather than just reading about it on a museum wall. You learn about it when you’re chatting with someone and they excuse themselves to go pray.” She went on to say that it is through exchanges with locals that she can ask questions like how they pray or how they choose which mosque to attend in a way that makes it relatable and provides a more natural understanding of interfaith experiences.

Impressed with Kimse Yok Mu

Another of the volunteers, Marshall, has been coming to Turkey since 1969, therefore absorbing the country’s culture for many years. Marshall has noticed many changes over the years, explaining: “Turkey is completely different now. You can really see the growth of the middle class. There is more money available to more people.”

She noted: “The farmers in the villages I visited, their kids wouldn’t go past primary school, but it is now very normal for them to go to university. They study hard and go to university. In 1969 that was unthinkable.”

When asked about the current problems facing Kimse Yok Mu, Marshall expressed her irritation with the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) obstacles place before the charity organization. Recently, the government rescinded the charity’s previously granted permission to collect public donations.

“Organizations like Kimse Yok Mu, I think, are wonderful. What they organize helps people in many different ways, from orphanages and education to healthcare to building roads, things that are helping people at a very primary level. And to try to impede the good work in any way, I really just don’t understand. There seems to be no logical reason to me to want to throw a monkey wrench in that kind of machine. Why would you want to stop good work?”

Source: Today's Zaman , October 13, 2014


Related News

Sweep these [journalists] off the floor

Sevgi Akarçeşme, former editor in chief of Today’s Zaman, recalls the night when the police raided the building of the most important and independent opposition newspaper in Turkey. «What happened to journalists today» she warns « can happen to citizens tomorrow».

Pro-gov’t columnist claims Obama could be Gülen’s White House ‘imam’

Mehmet Barlas, a columnist from the pro-government Sabah daily who is known as a staunch supporter of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, claimed in his column on Wednesday that US President Barack Obama could be an “imam” of the faith-based Gülen movement in Washington.

Erdoğan gov’t threatened to ‘wipe TUSKON off market map,’ says chairman

One of Turkey’s most influential business confederations, the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON), was threatened with being “wiped off the market” by the government after TUSKON made critical statements about government policies, chairman Rızanur Meral told the media on Friday.

Prime Ministry approved Kimse Yok Mu, now accused of ‘terrorism’

The humanitarian aid group Kimse Yok Mu, now accused of being an armed terrorist organization, had been directed by the Prime Ministry’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), casting doubt on such claims.

Kimse Yok Mu reaches out to refugee families in Afghanistan

International charity association Kimse Yok Mu delivered food packages to the Afghan people living in a refugee camp in Afghanistan capital Kabul during the holy month of Ramadan.

Turkish school sacrifices over 150 cows for Eidil Adha

More than 150 cows were slaughtered yesterday morning by the Filipino Turkish Tolerance School in commemoration of Eid Ul Adha or the Feast of Sacrifice.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Peace Curriculum Includes Fethullah Gulen

Trustees seize control of schools in government-led move

Third suspicious disappearance in a week: Teacher dismissed in post-coup crackdown not seen for 14 days

Zaman newspaper: Turkey police raid press offices in Istanbul

HRW report: No evidence to accuse Gülen movement of terrorism

France Urges Turkey to Respect Rights in Aftermath of Coup

Path of Prophet offers solutions to social ills

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News