There was an announcement by the Muhtar over the public address system yesterday. I didn't hear it but Mr Ayak told me about it this morning. Apparently there will be a visit by some Government health officials to the village sometime during the coming week. The Muhtar said that a recent visitor to the village had been taken ill, and it was believed he may have picked up some infection whilst he was here.
Now call me a sceptic if you like, but the Turks are often prone to exaggeration or even making up stories to suit a particular event, and when Mr Ayak asked the Muhtar today what exactly was wrong with this visitor, he was very evasive. In fact he quickly changed the subject and said that the village needed to be cleaned up because the VIP health officials were going to do a check. So I may be wrong, but I actually think that the Muhtar has been told to clean up his act prior to an inspection, but doesn't really want to admit he hasn't been doing his job properly.
Everyone has been informed that there must be no more water running down the lanes. This is something we are used to. People with cow sheds hose them out and the water makes its way out of their yards and down the roads. It's not a huge amount and dries out very quickly. But now the villagers have been told that they have to provide proper drainage...they must lay pipes to carry the dirty water. And the pipes must not be visible...ie trenches must be dug to accommodate the pipes and they must be covered up.
And then there is the cow manure. My neighbour for example, just shovels it up each day and tips it over the wall at the bottom of our lane. The pile grows bigger and bigger, until she eventually arranges for it to be collected. OK sometimes it gets a bit out of control, and one has to tread very carefully to avoid it, but this is the countryside....this is village life...it's no big deal really.
What about the refuse collection? Well some of you may well remember me blogging about this towards the end of last year, and how we had no rubbish bins at all at our end of the village and it took months of hassling the Muhtar before we were finally provided with one...then 5 weeks before it was emptied for the first time. It's still a problem...our bin was full today...it's been 3 weeks since the last collection.
Now...why am I sceptic about the tale of the sick visitor? Simply because the Muhtar knows that something like this will make the locals panic...it will get an immediate reaction. If he just tells everyone to clean up the village, they'll probably ignore him. But if they think they might become ill, they'll take immediate action.
In any case most of these things are the Muhtar's responsibility...work that should have been arranged by him ages ago.
Today has seen Mr Ayak hacking into concrete outside our gate to bury a plastic pipe which we had fitted as a temporary measure to take the waste water from the kitchen sink and washing machine straight into the garden to water the trees. I say temporary, because it was our intention at some point to dig a trench and fit a sturdier pipe. You could hear banging, hammering and drilling going on all over the village today.
When I walked down to the village shop to buy bread this afternoon, there were no piles of manure to be seen anywhere, and no waste water running down the lanes. All the rubbish bins have also been emptied today.
And where was the Muhtar whilst all this activity was taking place? Where he normally is...day after day...sitting in the teahouse doing precisely nothing.