To live in Cappadocia is to experience community.
And for us becoming part of a community has been one of the best things about living in Cappadocia.
Putting our kids in the public school was a great way to open doors to our neighborhood. Last week, we were privy to another chance at belonging here: the “Okul Kermesi” or school fair.
Our kids were ecstatic about the fair even though they didn’t know what it was, or what to expect. It was enough for them to know that they did not have classes that day!
The fair served up food and drink by the truckload, baked goods by the table full, and smiles too many to count. The kids from kindergarten thru fourth grades performed dances. There were races and competitions. Children jumped endlessly in the bounce house. All the while the DJ was blasting the music. It was quite an entertaining day.
The fair was organized to raise money for the school: which they did to the tune of three or four thousand Turkish lira (about $1900). But in talking with the school director, raising money was not the only purpose of the fair. The kermes was an opportunity for community. And judging by the size of the turnout, it appears the kermes accomplished both of its goals.
How did it build community you ask?
All of the goodies that were sold were handmade by neighborhood moms. Several local businesses contributed drinks or food so all the revenues would go directly toward the school with no expense. The food and drink servers were all moms and dads. My participation in community was to eat my fool head off enjoying the incredibly delicious desserts. I must have provided half of the school earnings myself!
The director gave me some insight into why the bazaar was so successful. He said that he could have just asked the parents outright if they would give a 20TL gift to the school. However, the chances are that only half of the parents would have responded to the request. By getting the whole community involved more people showed up and were willing to spend money on Derya’s cake or Fatma’s stuffed grape leaves. This way the money was raised and everyone had fun in the process.
In your visits to Cappadocia, have you experienced anything similar to this sense of community?
–By Christian Dedrick
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“Okul Kermesi” – Cappadocia School Fair