Our first visit to a SOS-Childrens Village

We have chosen to drive for SOS-Childrens Village because we admire the philosphy, every child deserves a home, but also because they encouraged us to visit their villages and see for ourselves.

We had the adres, but no detailled map of the entire Istanbul area. Imagine, you are in the Netherlands (because Istanbul has a many inhabitants) and you want visit your uncle on this adres Damstraat 12 Lunetten. You don’t speak dutch and nobody speaks your language, you are in the north of Holland and have to be in the south but you don’t know that. Okay, we had trouble finding the SOS-Childrens Village.

But with the help of the many Total petrolstations that Istanbul has we came close, we thought. We decided to ask a guy along the street who volunteerd to bring us. Elles jumped in the back and Mehmed next to Michel in the passenger seat. We drove and drove and drove…. did mehmed had nothing else to do? It was Monday afternoon after all. After a 15 minute drive, Mehmed saw a friend and opend his door. His friend jumped on his lap and we were asked to drive further and to follow a blue van. No worries, taxi service drivetheplanet will bring you anywhere! We drove through a dusty suburb and we looked at by the poor people who lived there. Could we trust this, could we trust Mehmed, where were we going. Mehmed kept smiling.

After a few minutes the blue van turned into street that led up a hill onto a compound full of blue houses. We were asked to park the car. Where are we… we asked? SOS-Childrens Village, Mehmed smiled again.

We were greeted by ten or so children who asked where we were from and what were doing. A nicer welcome we could not imagine. We were brought to Ms Sevim Tanik the director of the Village. After a complete explanation of the history and the work of SOS in Turkey we got a tour of the village by the guys from from the van and a couple of girls. We were taken to the ‘girls youth house’ where the girls of 16 and older live together with a teamleader. Proud, the girls showed their rooms and we were impressed by the ‘feeling of being at home’ situation of the neat houses. After the girls youth house we went to visit a mother. She looked after ten little children who recently had lost their parents. We also noticed that our tourgroup looked after the little ones as well, later explained as we are one big family. We were accompanied by more mothers and proud all the kids told us who their mother was! We were sold…. the idea of creating a long lasting family situation works.

After a cup of tea we were asked to go to a nearby sportsground for a bit of football. But being dutch doesn’t mean you can play football at all (except if your name is Hans van Breukelen or Marco van Basten) but we had great fun trying the penalties. An hour or so later we left under loud cheers and a group of singing Children. We were silent for a while. As we had no idea what to expect… we were very impressed by the work of SOS.