Turkish Stone Village Join Me on a Visit
A Turkish stone village that uses no money and barters for everything. Experiencing extreme hospitality in an ancient stone village.
Turkey hospitality...join me for a visit deep in the heart of a stone village.
Traveling through Cappadocia, Turkey with friends from there, Ibrahim and Seref, we-Mark, Matthew and myself stopped by the side of the road to eat our sandwiches when the Jandarma (Turkish army) approached us. I noticed our Turkish friends stiffen...what were they afraid of? I still don't know.
But...it appears that the Jandarma were merely curious about our little party and the next stream of events reminds me of a mystery novel or Marco Polo adventure.
The captain wanted to know if we wanted to visit a Turkish village? Sure...we love unexpected sidetracks. We followed the army truck which was approaching a mountain closer and closer until we entered a Turkish stone village....yes, stone. Every house and building, as I recall, was made out of stone.
Cars? Well...our vehicles were the only ones. We accepted the invitation to have tea at a place which had a large porch. Soon, our little party of five was increased by probably every man in the village. One by one, they joined us on the porch and soon there was a large crowd...all the men of the village and us.
Matthew's bright blond hair no doubt fascinated them.
We enjoyed tea in small glasses. The communication was limited naturally with language differences, but our college friends were willing translators. One topic discussed was family size and our number of seven children impressed them, and then a Turkish man proudly announced that he had fifteen children. We expressed awe...but gained clearer understanding when he just as proudly told us he had four wives. Ahhhhh, now we understood a little more.
(I had a brilliant photo of us on this crowded porch surrounded by Turkish farmers....but, alas....what does happen to those photos that are loaned to church bulletin boards??)
The men were thrilled that Mark also owned sheep, which were obviously this village's mainstay. When he said he had about forty sheep, ohhhhs and ahhhs of admiration rose from the group.
About the only thing I remember saying is this: "Jesus sent us here." Our friends gladly interpreted this for me. Warm smiles appeared on faces. I'm sure I also said something about His great love for them. We always find it easy to talk about Jesus to Turkish people as they also have a deep respect for Jesus, even though their admiration doesn't go so far as to accept His divinity.
Seeing we were "worthy" folks, all was going well and since the mayor of the village was present, the friendship was enticed further along by an invitation to the mayor's home. Mark and I have also learned to accept with grace any attempt at friendship especially invites into homes....as the old sayings goes..."One thing leads to another."
His home was a short walk across an open area. As we entered the stone house, his wife and five daughters greeted us in a row. Simple and covered profusely with head coverings their smiles and slight bows made us feel very welcome indeed.
We, along with the army captain (the other soldiers waited outside in the truck), sat on the floor around a low table on a thick carpet in a room with a loom and carpets rolled up in the corners. I also recall a sewing machine somewhere in there. The captain discreetly took off his gun belt and placed it behind him in a corner.
Before long an amazing meal appeared before our eyes...lamb, yogurt, flat bread, honey...I no longer remember every detail of the meal other than it was totally delicious. The wife and daughters did not eat with us, but the wife came and sat behind me against the wall. I'd been studying some Turkish from a book...so my pronunciation was horrible...but I managed a few "baby sentences" in Turkish...to her amazement. Her big eyes grew bright with joy at my attempt to communicate.
I appreciated her presence, especially as I realized I was the only woman eating the meal. She honored me by saying through one of our college friends, "You are welcome in my home anytime."
We inquired about the carpets at this time, but I didn't feel I could buy any right then. Looking back, naturally, I realized the incredible offer I'd turned down. I was offered huge room size hand woven, hand dyed wool carpets for only $300. The carpets for sale from us on this site (not the ones on Ebay) are from this same stone village which had changed quite a bit the next time I returned. Contrast is the only word for the two visits I paid here to the Turkish stone village.
We were delighted and stunned to hear that this particular Turkish stone village uses no money, but only barter among themselves. All the delicious food was produced there in the village and purchased without money.
How these ladies got a meal together so quickly is forever beyond me.
When saying good-bye at our car, I opened the trunk and brought out many gifts to the mayor. What I remember the most is a pile of little gospel booklets which I poured into his hands.
His next action has convicted and influenced me many times since then. Instead of hording them under his coat and whisking them away for his own family....he did just the opposite. He opened his hands and let the little children come freely and take them all away. This generous selfless act embedded on my mind the thought that "This is true leadership...sharing with all."
Then, I gave the gentle mayor of the Turkish stone village another armload of gifts and pointed directly to his family now standing by the house...indicating that those gifts were for them...not the masses. He obliged me by keeping them for his wife and daughters, who were beaming at the prospect of gifts.
A sidelight: Need gifts for mission trips? I suggest joining the non-profit organization, www.naeir.org. For a membership fee, you'll get LOTS of stuff for gifts. (Please give the Church of the Living Water, Muscatine, as a reference.)
I still feel emotional when I think of this simple yet elegant people in this remote Turkish stone village. I determined to return some day and buy carpets here.
Here are a few more of my Turkish observations.
Have you been to Turkey or specifically to this ancient city? We'd love to hear your story.
Do you have a great story about visiting Turkey? Please share it!
Purchase a Turkish Souvenir Here