First Taste

We visited two Syrian schools in Istanbul today. There is much to say — not everything is how we expected! — but for now, we are exhausted, so we will just post this short entry. (David says, “If I’m writing oddly, it’s because my language skills are all twisted up. I’ve been speaking pidgin Turkish all day, when I wasn’t listening to long Arabic dialogs.”)

At the first school we visited today in Istanbul we were shown a few small drawings. Two struck us as unusual. The first is a tiny drawing at the bottom of the page, in response to the question, what would you like to be? The child drew a picture of a doctor…with a dead patient.

A child's drawing on a development test. The drawing is of what the child wishes to become, a doctor in this case. The patient, however, is already dead.

A child’s drawing on a development test. The drawing is of what the child wishes to become, a doctor in this case. The patient, however, is already dead.

The second drawing was done elsewhere, and it is of a refugee camp for Syrians inside Turkey. The artist is an 11-year-old girl who is now working in a clothing store to make money, we were told.

The drawing of a refugee camp for Syrians in Turkey by an 11-year-old girl. She now works in a clothing store in Istanbul to make money.

The drawing of a refugee camp for Syrians in Turkey by an 11-year-old girl. She now works in a clothing store in Istanbul to make money.

After visiting our second school we had to rush to an internet cafe so our fixer/interpreter, Khalid, could send a photo to some government office before closing time. There, not so far from the Syrian school filled with shell-shocked children, I saw a group of Turkish (probably Kurdish) children playing video war games….

Children play war games in an internet cafe not far from a Syrian school.

Children play war games in an internet cafe not far from a Syrian school.

A Turkish child in an internet cafe not far from the Syrian school plays war games on a computer.

A Turkish child in an internet cafe not far from the Syrian school plays war games on a computer.

Görüşürüz! -David

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