|I took this
picture from where my house was once situated. Without any notice the
mayor of the village (a lady mayor) pulled my house down with the excuse
that it was dangerous and had to be demolished. Like my house many houses
were pulled down without any notice. The village was and still is full of
many houses which are potentially dangerous. To demolish people's houses
without informing them was an outright disrespect for the rights of people
and an act of lawlessness.
remaining corner of my house was just a collapsed section of the Turkish
bath which my father had it built with great self-sacrifice and great
care. For us it was a great joy and fun to have a bath especially in
winter in a nice and hot room filled with steam. My mother used to add
some rosemary branches into the boiler (a large boiler approximately
hyperbolic shape shell). The beautiful fragrance of rosemary and the steam
had a relaxing effect on us. Once you get in for a Turkish bath you do not
want to come out of it. In general, during winter we used to have a
Turkish bath on Saturdays. We also used to share this facility with our
close relatives and sometimes with our neighbours. When you had finished having a bath you had to get into a small cold room of approximately
2.5 square metres to cool yourself and get dressed. After you had dressed
you were given an orange. Eating an orange after a very hot bath was so
refreshing and so delicious that I will never forget. In those days I was not aware of what was behind
of eating an orange after having a Turkish bath, but when I come to think
of it now, I guess, it helped to recover some water loss from our body
while bathing in a room which was very hot and steamy.
While taking this picture I became deeply
emotional and became very sorrowful. My eyes were filled with tears. I
looked around with a feeling of emtiness; or was I looking for something?
"This was the soil I was born on..." The huge almond tree; the fig tree I
used to climb very early in the mornings to pick its delicious figs;
further ahead the elder tree which we used to make tea from its dried
flowers; the lovely smelling rose tree that my mother used to make rose
water and rose marmelade from its flowers; the large shell shaped water
drum I used to fill up with cold water and jump into to cool myself in
summer season when I was a kid; our large room with its arch at the centre
of its ceiling; Sierra radio which we bought and paid by monthly
installments which was run by a large Berec dry battery; and my whole
family including my grand mother and grand father from my father side (I
never saw my mother's side ones, because they died before I was born) all
rolled passed my eyes like a moving picture...I could smell the beautiful
smell of jasmine flowers my mother used to collect and spread them over our
beds. There she was again... with her jasmine flowers
nicely and carefully lined on a thread hanging
on her chest. I was overpowered by a feeling of
sadness. I knew I'd
cry had I stayed longer at this spot.
My friend Hasan, my
wife and I left this spot to start touring the village. As I was picturing
the village mosque, I turned around and looked at the place where my house used to be
once. Once again I felt very emotional. I could not help my
tears dropping from my eyes. Hasan and my wife were walking few metres
ahead of me. Without letting Hasan and my wife see, I wiped my tears with
the back of my hands and joined them to continue touring the village.
Oh my God! It looked
as though the village had been struck by a terrible earthquake or had been
bombed severely. What a terrible, what a
depressing sight... What a pity...I was shocked. Despite of all these we
were able to come across with houses that survived and still retain their
interesting authentic village style. There are also few buildings which
may be preserved as historic buildings if restored, taken under protection
and looked after.
As far as I could see,
the villagers are still very hospitable. People seeing us passing by their
houses, with all their sincerity, invited us inside for a coffee or a cold drink. All these virtues were more than
enough to completely wiped out from my mind the ugly sights of those ruined houses.
We accepted Fatma's
and Hasan's invitation to stay for lunch and have kebab at
Mustakka's kebab house. Mustakka's kebab and
the rice cooked in the same oven were very delicious indeed.
After lunch we went to
Süleyman Ağdaç's (Küsler) house for a coffee. Süleyman's wife Netice
offered us a nice coffee. Usually I decline when I am offered a coffee or
drink only half of it explaining that I am not very fond of it; but
Netice's coffee was so tasty I drank it to the last drop. "Thanks Netice."
I must point out also that Netice and Suleyman have a very nice house and
Netice keeps her house very tidy and clean.
It was time to leave for Kyrenia. We could not stay longer anyway, because
it was getting very hot and we were unable to walk around longer.
I left Louroujina with a mix feeling of sadness and happiness. I felt sad
and depressed because the village was practically reduced to rabble. I
felt happy because despite all the difficulties and neglect the people
were still very hospitable and sincere. I was extremely touched and felt most happy
to see that their love and devotion for their village was still as strong
26 May 2002