Sunday, July 21, 2013


Recently I shared the lights and shadows of an EVS volunteer life in a few blog posts (1 2 3). For time being, I held myself back from sharing them with wider public because of ongoing Gezi protests, when I thought nobody living in Turkey (saying this I mean mainly my other EVS friends from cities all around the country, who might find it interesting to compare how volunteering works like in different organizations) would pay attention to single statuses lost among countless updates about riots and clashes. However, latest revelations in my organization inclined me not to keep the story just to myself.

For more than one month we've been going to a summer camp with our kids - that's how long Murat has been promising us the outside-Ankara part of their holidays. The first proposed days were mid-June  but just a few days before the suggested departure our boss announced that he doesn't want to go to the usual campsite in İzmir, that it's overcrowded and dirty and he would look for another one. Surprisingly, a week before going to the camp was almost a certainty...

The latest idea of Murat was to go to the camp on 22.07 (tomorrow) for around 10 days, about which I got to know while staying in Cazgirler. We all had official holidays in the first half of July and when the time came to an end, I lingered there for two more days and hurried to Ankara as to avoid problems with Murat saying we only show up in the office when it's the salary day.

On Wednesday morning I was getting ready to leave home for Güçkobir when Elisa told me there was nobody in the office - the kids wouldn't be there until the end of the week and Murat was in İzmir checking another potential location for the summer camp and coming back to Ankara on Thursday night. I refrained myself from going to Güçkobir on that day and the following one. On Friday Monique, who has just returned from İstanbul, and I went to the office. The door was closed but we hoped that the Güçkobir Godot would arrive soon, as promised. We waited for around half an hour and, weary, asked the security guy is he knew anything about Murat. "Tatil," ("holidays") he answered. "Şaka yapıyor musun?" ("are you joking?") Monique asked. It looked like his search for a campsite had been protracted. We weren't surprised, we were just infuriated. Our holidays were over, we came to Ankara to work again (if this comedy could be called work at all) and our boss didn't even dare tell us about the sudden change of his plans.

We tried to contact Murat by phone and text messages but got no responses. I sent him a message on facebook, certain that also this effort would turn out futile. To the surprise of everyone, I got a response, where he explained that the place needs renovation and the camp has to be put off again.

On Friday Ágnes told Monique that Murat lets us travel as much as we want to and doesn't oblige us to show up at work all the time because he needs the volunteers just for money. These are his actual words! If he doesn't need us in Ankara, why the hell should he need us in İzmir? It even sounded as if he didn't give a shit about us as long as he has the EU grants.

It's sad that the opportunity of hosting EVS volunteers is so misused by some organizations. Recently I spoke on skype with Ewa, the person responsible for EVS in my sending organization. She mentioned that Turkish organizations are usually difficult to cooperate with and brought up a few cases where her volunteers had to make up their own activities in their hosting organizations, without any guidance. I've heard similar stories from some volunteers I met in Turkey as well. Their hosts just told them to find activities beyond the scope of the organization if they wanted to do anything.

How do I benefit from my stay in Turkey? I have kochanie here. I travel and escape from Ankara at least during the weekends. I'm learning Turkish and I enjoy practising it both in the classroom and with people I meet on the street or when I travel. But when it comes to EVS, there's nothing I could own my service exclusively. Staying here is a fucking waste of time...

In a few days I'm leaving for Cazgirler again and then - surprise - breaking my resolution of not going to Europe during the duration of my project. There's a Hitchgathering in Slovakia, which I started giving some thought to only last week. But I feel after eight months of hitchhiking mainly alone in a country where the concept of autostop is perceived dually, I need to breathe roads different than ones where hitchhiking girls are taken for women of easy virtue or where every other driver asks me if I have a boyfriend, why I don't want to have one, why I'm not thinking about marriage, when do people start their sexual lives in Poland or other really stupid questions. Who knows, maybe it's the beginning of a series of long-lasting escapes from Ankara, with occasional visits to Güçkobir to collect what Murat values the most about EVS - our precious $$$.

No doubts, this one won't be difficult to fill...

1 comment:

  1. So don't let our European money be sucked by thieves in Turkey and quit it as soon as you can.
    But I like you won "kochanie" part there!