“Mighty oaks from little acorns grow” is what springs to mind when I start to write our story and experiences from Bodrum. My friend, a month and a half ago, shared a post with me on Facebook showing a lovely video clip from Kadıköy Belediye, Kitap Okuyan Cocuklar. Of small children enjoying time in a specially designed library/community centre which in itself was fantastic, but not only that, also funded by the local council.
We all (many of my friends) started making comments that it made us want to move to Kadıköy! After a few conversations it hit us, why just talk about it when we could contact the library and find out how they went about setting up this project and seeing if we could do a similar project here in Bodrum. I called the library and they were so positive and helpful, they gave me the contact details of Esra R. Akçay-Duff (Kitap Okuyan Çocuklar Projesi, Proje Genel Koordinatörü) I was of course hopeful but I had no idea how helpful she would be. İt was refreshing to be met with such a positive attitude.
I asked for more information about the project, and if they would be willing to share their research or project plans with us to approach our local council with. By the end of the afternoon I had a copy of the project in my inbox. I then set up a Facebook group and “WhatsApp” group for the initial friends I had talked with about the project. By the end of the afternoon we had 250 members. The feedback was so positive, it began to feel like this could all become a reality. I also sent a copy of the project directly to our local council, as well as posting on our Facebook group. I then began my weekly phone calls to our Mayor’s office enquiring if there had been any news of our project. Everywhere I went people had started asking me how I was getting on with the library project, which was so supportive and gave me the energy to carry on. I made a limit of one call a week to the council (not wanting to make a pest of myself!)
It is important to mention, as a foreigner living in Turkey for the last 11 years, I have experienced many things but have had no experience with how the local councils work. This week I changed my tactic and mentioned to my contact that I had many people waiting for news from me. At this point we did not even have an idea if this was the kind of project the council would even consider, and she promised to come back to me that day with a definite answer. I never heard that day and decided to wait for the week before making another call, however, I did not have to. I got word a couple of days later that the Mayor had accepted the project on principle and that things were moving in the right direction, which brings me back to little acorns…