UmAy had the pleasure of hosting 6 people from 4 countries yesterday! Our speaker delivered an engaging interactive talk on our back porch where we had the sunshine and Cherry (the queen-cat!) accompanying us the whole time. The talk addressed many issues and concerns most of which we think we already know but have difficulty tackling in our daily lives. Covid-19’s lingering presence, its effects on the youth in particular was the main reason for choosing this particular topic and for inviting a select audience across different age groups (BA and PhD students, and a young-spirited life-long student) who are active in volunteer work, teaching, and learning. Let’s hope that this lifting talk’s message can spread its wings as wide as possible. Gulseren Hoca who has been in academia for 40 years shared her personal challenges in life and several memorable quotations from prominent people in history reminded us that it is okay to have many problems in life. To maintain balance on the ladder up to a satisfactory life is indeed possible as long as we know our priorities and principles, and stick to them no matter who or what seems to block the path. The participants shared several stories from their own lives and commented on them. Salome/Sally (Georgia), Hamza (Algeria), Duygu, Resit, Ozlem (Turkey), and Alice (U.K.) made up a small yet colorful crowd.

After the talk, we mingled through some delicious healthy vegetarian finger food, and freshly picked fruits from UmAy’s garden and Turkish tea. We bid farewell to our short-term volunteer Alice from the U.K. and wish her all the best during her travels in Turkey and whichever countries allow traveling under the circumstances. Duygu and Alice got on well, worked hard, had fun, and have become part of the solidarity network that we have been proudly building since May 2019. Thank you to all our volunteers, guests, and donors who made this initiative possible and alive, we cannot thank you enough. You are always welcome back!

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