By now, I imagine you're aware of the devastating earthquakes that struck a few days ago near Gaziantep, Turkey. The affected area is huge and monstrous. So far, the count of the dead across Turkey and Syria exceeds 20,000 people, a number that is absolutely inconceivable to me.
When I lived in Turkey, I lived outside of the affected areas. But I visited them. I couchsurfed in them.
I had many students whose families were from those areas. Many of them, I haven't kept in contact with, but there are some whose social media accounts have gone silent, leading me to fear the worst.
I always enjoy the fantasy of meeting again. Crossing paths with a friendly former student with an infectious love for Adana's football team. He's okay, though in his words, "the situation is so scary here."
But there are others with silent social media accounts, and no replies. I'd love to meet again with another former student, a bright-eyed entrepreneur, doing her best to run an independent English school in Antep. Her school was located so close to the citadel, a castle that stood for 2,000 years without crumbling like it did a few days ago. Her social media is silent. My message has no reply. That's all I know. We might not meet again in this life.
And then, there are people who I crossed paths with, who showed me incredible kindness over the years. Is the religion teacher who insisted on paying for my sandwich in Maraş okay? How about the couchsurfing hosts whose accounts disappeared from the internet, and phone numbers from my phone?
I will probably never know.
Survivors need shelter and aid from frigid winter temperatures. I encourage readers to donate to help with earthquake relief.
The most central link I've found, with a group of organizations seeking donations, allowing people to report that they need help, providing gathering places, etc. is this page of links. Please donate if you are able.
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with any of these organizaitons.
Thanks for reading!
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