I arrived in Türkbükü at approximately 9 o’clock on Monday morning. I no sooner had the car parked than Metin was out to carry my bags. It was a beautiful sunny morning. I opened the door and reeled back in shock. The houses on our site were built as summer houses. Because of this, there are no south-facing windows. It was colder inside than out.
I immediately opened all the shutters to let in the light and switched on the gas super ser. Opening the shutters was an immediate signal that I had arrived and shortly my phone gave a couple of quick beeps. Gulsum’s signal to ring her back. Gülsüm is my friend from across the road. She has taken me into her home and into her heart. She speaks no english and is very patient with my turkish. Instead of the rapid fire Turkish she usually speaks she has learned to simply everything so that İ can understand.
Gülsüm married young, at the age of seventeen and now has two sons in their twenties. The youngest, Onur is engaged and impatient to marry but is in the middle of his military service. Military service in Turkey is unpaid and the loss of his income to the family is substantial. The family is all engaged in tourism, or seasonal work, the boys drive their own taxi and Olcay, Gülsüm’s husband drives his own water tanker. Off season life is difficult with little work to be had. Enter Gülsüm! She makes and repairs fishing nets. İt is amazing to see. She sits on her living room floor, from sunrise to way past sun set. Everywhere you look there are nets. Her house has wonderful views out over the bay and it is a joy to sit on her balcony in the summer enjoying the sea breeze that blows up the hill.
The view from Gülsüm's balcony
In winter time the same balcony is filled with nets. She has worked everyday, without fail, since İ was last out in October making the nets. There are different size nets depending on the fishing season. Sometimes, the mesh is large and she can complete a net in a day but when a fine mesh is required, it takes 2 days to finish. She receives 40 Turkish Lira (tl) for each finished net. In addition to all this, she looks after her family. does all the housework and is an amazing cook. I used to lose weight when İ went to Turkey first on holidays, and then İ met Gülsüm. Sure enough, shortly she appeared on my doorstep, with a plate in her hand. Roll on the week, I’m going to dine well. Below are some photos of Gülsüm and her friends at work. Thanks to my friend Rasa for the photos.
Ladies at work!