• Theunis

Getting a life!

Moving into a high-rise apartment building close to the city center was a big adjustment. Despite the height we could not see the horizon. When we opened the windows we could hardly hear one another speak because of the noise from the traffic. The children slept in the living room on the sleeper-coach and we used the smaller bedroom as a classroom for their homeschool program. It was just big enough for the two small desks we had in there!

There was a wall mounted steel-framed cupboard for cups and glasses above the dishwashing basin in the small kitchen. It had sliding glass doors and it was just within the reach of Hardus who was about 9 years old. One morning he reached for a glass from the cupboard when the screws on one side dislodged from the wall. The side of the cupboard fell on his head, but he managed to keep the cupboard in the air. We rushed to help him and managed to stabilize the cupboard. Luckily Hardus did not sustain any serious injury.

I had no tools and no idea where to start looking. The only options was to ask help from dr. Arseven. He promised that a handy man will come to fix the problem. Later that morning there was a knock at the door. It was a elderly man dressed in a brown suit and tie. He had a parcel wrapped in newspaper in a plastic bag with him. I had no idea who he was or what he wanted. I could not understand his gestures and was at the point where I was going to close the door in his face, He must have sensed my frustration, because he suddenly pushed me aside and walked straight into the kitchen. Before I could say anything he started to unfold the newspaper-wrapped parcel and then I realized! He was the handyman!

He patiently removed his tools and started working on getting the cupboard mounted to the wall again.

During those first weeks in Ankara we met Tulay. She was a young Kurdish-Turkish lady. She lived in Ankara and was an agriculture graduate. Her English was good and she helped us to get to know our neighborhood, the bus schedules and routes, and buying fresh produce at the weekly farmers market. The children was very fond of her and she was a great help when we needed it most!

I had my first formal meeting with dr. Arseven and his partners to discuss the framework for the feasibility study I was doing for Carewell. I had to research the legalities to open a health clinic and find possible suppliers for all the equipment and consumables to be used in a clinic. One of the main issues was the identification of a suitable building or land to develop the primary health care clinic. From our many meetings and deliberations it became clear that there were two sets of views in play - the view of the Carewell directors and the view of dr. Arseven and his partners - and I felt increasingly caught in the middle. By the end of April I was informed that a delegation from Carewell South Africa was planning a visit to come and do site inspections in early June 1999.

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