Saturday, October 29, 2011

Many Things of Much Importance

First off, today is 29 Ekim - Cumhuriyet Bayramı - the Turkish independence day. On this day in 1923, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, father of the Turkish Republic brought modern Türkiye into being. Turkish flags hang all around Ankara, as well as posters of Mustafa Kemal, the first president of the Turkish Republic.

It is really wonderful to see how independence day is celebrated in a different country - July 4th is a day of fireworks and barbecue and parades, and in Turkey it is the same (minus the barbecue... I hope there are fireworks!) We had Cuma as a half day and after a history quiz in the first two classes, we all went to the gymnasium for presentations. My friends Hilal and Emre emcee'd the event, introducing the different grades as they sang and read poems, teachers gave out awards and it was a merry (and confusing) morning. Afterwards we went to my friend's house for a celebration of both Turkish independence and the good fun of Hallowe'en! It is just wonderful for me to really hear this important aspect of Turkey's history and enjoy spending time with my friends at such an important time.

They fly these giant flags between the different apartment buildings :)

Second of all, the deprem, the earthquake, occurred about 918 km away from Ankara, or roughly 570 mi. It is horrible what this earthquake has done to the Eastern part of Turkey, resulting in many deaths and many more injuries. To donate to earthquake relief, the Helping Hands Relief Foundation is helping to rebuild Van and the surrounding areas affected in the earthquake.

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