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Art supplies and Turkish coffee in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by Mieke Strand

Art supplies and Turkish coffee in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by Mieke Strand

We’ve returned to the US from Turkey, and while I won’t speak for David, I’ve been walking around in a thick fog of jet lag. That fog, combined with a healthy dose of cultural shock, has left me feeling unmoored and dislocated — suspended between two worlds. So before my heart settles completely, I wanted to write a blog post about some of our final experiences in Turkey, in a city called Kahramanmaras.

In Kahramanmaras, we were fortunate to have both Khalid and Ezgi Içöz with us. Ezgi is an art therapist from Istanbul, and she and Khalid paired up to create a fantastic series of art therapy sessions for the kids:

Ezgi during an art therapy session at a Syrian school in Kahramanmaras, by Mieke Strand

Ezgi during an art therapy session at a Syrian school in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by Mieke Strand

Khalid during an art therapy session at a Syrian school in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by Mieke Strand

Khalid during an art therapy session at a Syrian school in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by Mieke Strand

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Students during an art therapy session in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by Mieke Strand

A student describes her drawing during an art therapy session in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by Mieke Strand

A student describes her drawing during an art therapy session in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by Mieke Strand

While Khalid and Ezgi were hard at work, David was taking portraits of other students on the roof of the school:

David photographing on the roof of a Syrian school in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by Mieke Strand

David photographing on the roof of a Syrian school in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by Mieke Strand

David also took photos of the kids coming into the school after break. They lined up like a choo-choo train and sang a song while entering the building.

Kids at a Syrian school in Kahramanmaras, by David Gross

Kids at a Syrian school in Kahramanmaras, by David Gross

Here’s one more photo David took of a group of girls inside the school:

Students at a Syrian school in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by David Gross

Students at a Syrian school in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by David Gross

We’ll add another blog post shortly to wrap up our final thoughts on our trip. After that, we’ll be focusing on creating the eBook and sending out our kickstarter rewards. Stay tuned!

Görüşürüz! -Mieke

As I mentioned in a previous post, we are fortunate that our friend Khalid has been leading many of our recent art sessions here in Gaziantep. Khalid has a true gift with children. His words transform their faces into delight — it is quite something to see. We’ve been recording video of him for the eBook, and we’ll be posting a few clips here. The first one, below, is a short example of Khalid instructing the kids on how to use a brush. (The video is in Arabic, but English speakers will get the general gist of it. We’ll be adding subtitles later.)

Khalid is also a photographer, and he took some photos of some of the children peering into our classroom from the courtyard. I really love them. He’s graciously let us share some with you here:

Children at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, by Khalid Eid

Children at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, by Khalid Eid

Children at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, by Khalid Eid

Children at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, by Khalid Eid

Children at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, by Khalid Eid

Children at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, by Khalid Eid

Children at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, by Khalid Eid

Children at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, by Khalid Eid

Thanks again to Khalid!

Görüşürüz! -Mieke

Happy New Year!

We’ve taken a holiday break from the blog, which means this post will be long and chock full of photos! We are now in a city about 4 hours north of Reyhanli, called Gaziantep. I’m really enjoying this city–the people are warm and welcoming.

Our friend, As’ad Sieo, connected us with a wonderful Syrian school here; its name translates to “Friendship School”. We’re also incredibly lucky that another friend, Khalid Eid, has been teaching art classes for us at this school. Khalid is a natural-born teacher, with an energy that the children love. The moment he begins speaking in a classroom, the children light up with joy. It’s magical to watch. Below, I’m posting a few photos of Khalid in action, but I’ll be posting some video clips of him as well in a later post. (Khalid’s also a photographer, so I’ll post some of his photographs in the next post, as well.)

Khalid and his students, by Mieke Strand

Khalid and his students, by Mieke Strand

Khalid and his students, by Mieke Strand

Khalid and his students, by Mieke Strand

Khalid and his students, by Mieke Strand

Khalid and his students, by Mieke Strand

A student at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, by Mieke Strand

A student at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, by Mieke Strand

Here are a couple of the paintings from the art sessions:

Painting by a child at the Syrian Friendship School in Gaziantep, photo by David Gross

Painting by a child at the Syrian Friendship School in Gaziantep, photo by David Gross

Painting by a child at the Syrian Friendship School in Gaziantep, photo by David Gross

Painting by a child at the Syrian Friendship School in Gaziantep, photo by David Gross

David’s been making many portraits at this school; I’m including a few, mostly of teachers, below. We’re saving most of the photos of the kids for the book.

Manager at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, Turkey, by David Gross

Manager at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, Turkey, by David Gross

Teacher at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, Turkey, by David Gross

Teacher at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, Turkey, by David Gross

Student at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, Turkey, by David Gross

Student at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, Turkey, by David Gross

Class of students at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, Turkey, by David Gross

Class of students at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, Turkey, by David Gross

I’ve started working again with my digital camera, photographing the city and the neighborhoods where the students live. Yesterday, I was lucky enough to take the school bus home with one of the girls at the school (and Khalid, who is also a fantastic translator). Below are a few photographs that I took on the bus ride:

Students from the Friendship School getting off the bus after school in Gaziantep, by Mieke Strand

Students from the Friendship School getting off the bus after school in Gaziantep, by Mieke Strand

Friendship School bus dropping kids off after school in Gaziantep, by Mieke Strand

Friendship School bus dropping kids off after school in Gaziantep, by Mieke Strand

View from the Friendship School bus in Gaziantep, by Mieke Strand

View from the Friendship School bus in Gaziantep, by Mieke Strand

View from a neighborhood in Gaziantep in which many Syrians are currently living, by Mieke Strand

View from a neighborhood in Gaziantep in which many Syrians are currently living, by Mieke Strand

And last, but not least, I’ve been going out photographing in the streets of Gaziantep to document city life. I’ll include just a couple here:

Gaziantep at night, by Mieke Strand

Gaziantep at night, by Mieke Strand

Portrait of a man from Gaziantep, by Mieke Strand

Portrait of a man from Gaziantep, by Mieke Strand

Görüşürüz! -Mieke

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