(photographs of the minarets of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, taken from outside the gate – left by David, right by Mieke)
The past couple of days have been a jet-lagged whirlwind, but the project is starting to take definite shape. We met yesterday with the art therapy group, Arkabahçe, and we are very excited to be working them. One of their therapy techniques is to have children create “books of life” in which they paint or draw images of their past, present, and future. We are thrilled with this idea as it encourages the children to find hope in their future despite the difficulties of their past or present experiences.
Today, we met up with Ezgi Içöz, another art therapist in Istanbul. Ezgi completed her art therapy training in the Bay Area, and lived for a time in Oakland, not far from us (small world!). It looks like she will be able to work with us in January, and we’re so happy to have her help.
We also got some helpful updates from one of David’s friends, Ferdi Limani, a photojournalist now living in Istanbul. Ferdi recently returned from Syria and spoke of the pure chaos that now reigns throughout the country. Although we’re not planning to cross the border from Turkey into Syria, it’s helpful to hear first-hand about the everyday living conditions in Syria.
And last but not least, we had tea tonight with Nergiz Özdemir. Nergiz is a psychologist based in Istanbul, and she’s helped us enormously. She works primarily with street children, a group that now includes many Syrian refugee kids. She was recently interviewed on Turkish television regarding the crises these young refugees are facing.
In short (and I’m trying to keep this short!), our team is coming together. We have been amazed and touched by the generosity of the people we’ve met, in contributing their time and effort to Inside-Outside. It’s exciting and gratifying to see the ideas we’ve been refining over the past months come to life amongst others.
Oh, and since my last visit to Istanbul, I’ve been dreaming of yoghurt with sour cherry jam. It did not disappoint.