Bahadir is the friend of a friend, whose number has given us a friend of mine who I know from my master’s studies. When I wrote to Bahadir and asked if we are allowed to visit him, he is not surprised, but invites us to stay with his family. Typically turkish. When we arrive, Bahadir is already waiting in rubber boots under a roof of wild wine. Everyone grabs a piece of luggage and we hike up a narrow path uphill through hazelnut groves, past the plum and fig trees to the house of Bahadir ‘s parents. There a group of women welcomes us warmly and besides them we find three cats babies with their 2 mothers, chickens, a dog and of course a richly set table. We relax ourselves comfortably in the cool shade and Bahadir translates all the questions that his mother, his aunts and cousins have to us.
After we have rested, Bahadir takes us on a tour of the large garden. He shows us his zucchini, pumpkins, cucumbers and beans, all of which thrives on small fields in the midst of hazelnut bushes. A field near the forest and a small waterfall was partially dug by wild boars and Bahadir wants to install a fishing net so the pigs can not reach the garden. He tells us how his aunts skeptically watch him for not using chemicals to keep pests out, and he forbids them to enter his fields. He wants to cultivate everything biologically in the style of permaculture. With nature as a role model and without the addition of external energy.
He tells us how satisfying it is to work in the garden every day. Before returning to his hometown, he lived in Istanbul, where he worked as an industrial climber, tourist guide on a yacht and as a boat builder. There he jogged almost every day and climbed a lot.
In the evening, Bahadir takes us with his bus to some beautiful viewpoints and there is plenty of time for exchanging thoughts, spinning new ideas or thinking about existing ones. Daniel and Bahadir have a lot to talk about and I enjoy to hang on to my own thoughts in the meantime. When we return at nightfall, Hakan, the cousin of Bahadir, looks out of the window and waves us in. We are spontaneously invited to dinner, which consists of several delicious courses and we are impressed how easy it serves 3 more people. After the meal, we are going to take a tour of the city with Bahadir’s cousin and her husband, feasting homemade ice cream and watching the entire population of Perşembe as they also turn round. Bahadir tells us that people of the town were not used to jogging and asked why he did it. He explained it, they did not understand it, and since then everybody sticks to his own way of life.
At home, we drink a beer with a view of the sparkling bay of Perşembe and Bahadir tries to keep his father from starting political discussions. He says, winking, that this would take all night. The next morning I am full of energy and go to the terrace. Bahadir’s mother is already awake, and we talk splendid, though we do not speak the same language. She is a retired teacher and a caring mother and grandma. Bahadir tries to explain her at every meal that we really can not eat more than what we take and she usually gives up after the third time.
After the delicious breakfast we go to the garden and dig a new field. Bahadir shares his ideas with us. He would like to do something with permaculture and tourism, a small bar down at the street, maybe something with yoga and permaculture, a mobile climbing facility or his running project, where he makes up jogging routes with sightseeing. We are enthusiastic and tell him some thoughts: sell homemade hazelnut cream in pawns to the hipsters in the hip Moda district of Istanbul, offer permaculture workshops, pick up EU funds and use the mobile climbing facility at schools and at town festivals. We can not get out of dreaming. The problem is always the same: money. He says he lives here without money and also has no savings that he could invest. He just wants to go one by one and see if anybody invests in his ideas.
After the gardening we are again provided with delicious food on the terrace. The ladies then begin to fill wine leaves with rice. All handmade and almost everything from their own garden. Even the bread plates for the Börek which we had in the morning are made by themselves. We have once again landed in food heaven. In the afternoon we go to the beach, watch the fishermen while fishing and Bahadir tells us that when he was small the ships almost collapsed under the load of the daily catch. If you wanted 5 kg of fish, you got this as a present because there was so much. In the meantime almost all fishermen are insolvent. Only the big ones still catch far out. And do not pay attention to the season, so that the stocks can not recover.
In the evening and the following morning we are lovingly caressed by Mami, then it’s time to say goodbye. The whole family is gathering to say goodbye, and here and there tears are glittering in eyes. We also have a hard time saying goodbye to these cordial people, this peaceful life and the natural environment. Everyone present is giving us small gifts, then everybody waves until we have really disappeared behind the next valley.
We are once again grateful to be so lucky to meet such wonderful people. Bahadir has taught us so much again, and we are trying to take him as a role model with his energy, his constant attempt, his endurance and his will to learn. He is the pioneer, courageous, and simply trying things out. He is curious and inquisitive, throwing himself confidently into the next project. Sometimes he fails, then he learns and tries again. Sometimes it is not easy to be the first and to explain constantly. But at some point it will show effect and the effort will have paid off. We are convinced of this. If anyone of you would like to support Bahadir in his projects in any way, contact him. You can reach hivia Twitter or Facebook under “Land of Oxygen” or his full name bahdi Elverdi. As I said, you can learn a lot from him.
Further info about permaculture:
- THE film about the idea of permaculture: Inhabit.
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