Welcome to the Family

Çapa-Şehremini, İstanbul

One of the nicest parts of Middle Eastern culture is a sense of family and the relationship you have to everyone. Its a privilege to be brought into this community as an ağabey(Turkish: older brother - Abi) or أخ(Arabic: brother - Akh). Maybe I’m not the most responsible with giving chocolates to the wee ones, but what can you do about that cutie. For the first few weeks in Istanbul, I worked in childcare at Small Projects Istanbul. It is a hectic place to say the least.

In one corner a kid was ‘facepainting’ another with a dry brush - no paint. He was a little upset with the results, but soon got over it when the girls invited him to their tea party. All four of them, three girls and a boy, sat pretty in their dresses - cracks me up to this day. Little did I know that this first day was my introduction to the infamous Hammudi. That little dude is one of the youngest, yet most respected of the children. In the morning he walks into the centre, throws his jacket on the rack and walks arms wide, chin up saying, 

I’m back, what do you have for me.
— Hammudi

Since then we’ve had some music classes, painted stories from our lives, had a pillow fight which has brokered a long term peace agreement, made a table fort where the adults hid for a little break and enjoyed the endless entertainment that little ones can bring.

It truly has been a blessing. Thank you for the welcome عائلة (Arabic: family - ‘A’la)