Friday, 30 August 2013

Removing the rose tinted spectacles

This is the third post in what appears to have become a series of gripes about this country.  Make no mistake, as far as holiday destinations are concerned, Turkey takes some beating.  But living here in this village is no holiday.

This is a beautiful area.   You've seen photos of the views from our house near the top of the hill in this village.  Scenery to die for.  Watching the sunrise early in the morning from behind the mountains can make you feel so good about life.

However, not everything is rosy.  There is another side to life in this village, which isn't so pleasant.

Rubbish. Tons of it.  Everywhere.  

We have been here nearly four and a half years.  During the first two years I had a running battle with the Muhtar to get bins installed as far as our house.  It happened eventually.  We had one placed just below our house.  I carefully wrapped all rubbish before placing in the bin, but my neighbours didn't bother.  They just emptied everything including rotting food straight into the bin.   You can imagine the smell, particularly when temperatures reached almost 40 degrees.

We never knew when the bins would be emptied.  The Muhtar would have to arrange for someone with a tractor and trailer to collect.  This didn't happen too often and we could sometimes wait 4 or 5 weeks.  Eventually in desperation Mr A would have to empty the bin and set fire to the rubbish.

It didn't work, so the bins were removed.   Apparently this village should at some time in the future come under the control of the council in Milas.  It has started in a small way because they have installed two large wheely bins with lids down in the village.  I still wrap my rubbish well, and I take it down to the bins.   When the elderly man in the old house below us died and his wife left, there was a huge pile of rubbish in their garden.  In spite of complaints to the Muhtar, it remained there for over a year, until Mr A went down and set fire to it all.  There was so much of it, it burned for days.

He needn't have bothered, because my neighbours don't take their rubbish to the bins in the village, they just dump it in that garden.

Last week, one of Dursune's large chickens was killed, either by a fox or stray dog.   She took it round to the hill behind our house and dumped it there.  I asked her not to, because this is where my dogs run and I didn't want them eating rotten chicken.  It would also encourage more street dogs and rats.  She just ignored me and left it there.

Sure enough, my dogs discovered it, and  a week later, they  brought it down to the road outside our house and started tearing it apart.  Can you imagine what state it was in?  After a week in this heat?  I'm afraid I got quite angry  with Dursune.       I'm not sure she understood me, but I tried to tell her that she should either dig a hole and bury it, wrap it up and take it to the bin in the village or burn it.  She ignored me, and left it outside.     Although I did (using a long pole) scoop it up and threw it over the wall into her garden.  She will probably not even notice the smell from the rotting chicken, because the stench from her garden is getting worse by the day.  It's so bad that I now avoid sitting outside when the wind is blowing from her direction.  Needless to say one of my dogs had an upset stomach which was probably as a result of trying to eat the rotting carcass.

I have also noticed recently that early in the morning Dursune can't be bothered to go around the side of her house to the outside toilet, but will squat and pee in the garden instead.  This seems to be a quite common habit here...another rather unpleasant aspect of Turkish village life.  

OK I'm a foreigner.  They already think I'm odd because I keep dogs as pets.  And they think dogs are dirty and disease-ridden.   In actual fact my dogs are cleaner and healthier than a lot of people in this village.

Maybe I have no right to complain?  But this is the 21st Century, not the 19th.   We have electricity and running water in this village.   The inhabitants have toilets and showers, even if some are outside.

Most of them have televisions.  A lot have access to the internet, judging by the number of members on the village Facebook page.

 I don't get it.  Why do they still insist on living this way?



  1. I can understand your "rant". Apart from being annoying and unpleasant, it sounds dangerous, and I would have thought that everyone knows about the spread of disease, and in the heat that you have, I'm surprised its not just one of the dogs that has been ill.
    Do you think things will improve if the village does come under Milas jurisdiction ? Will that mean taxes will rise ? presumably, if things improve, there will be a cost....agghhh, a nightmare Ayak. I suppose at lease the searing temperatures should start to fall soon....but rotting rubbish is rotting rubbish. Jxx

    1. Janice it's frustrating more than anything else, because these people don't seem to care. The population is mostly elderly, uneducated, and many of them don't set foot outside the village, so they know no different. Those that do, seem to shrug their shoulders (including Mr A) and say "ah well it's a village and that's how it is".

      The Muhtar is useless. It's a job that's been passed from father to son through several generations, whether they are up to it or not. I hope that Milas belediye does take over, even if it means paying more in may be worth it....but remains to be seen.

  2. Roll on control by Milas as it's clear that the Muhtar isn't up to the job.
    What happens as these people die off....have the young deserted the village?

    1. Helen, there's nothing for the young here except farming, and because they have had a better education than their parents and grandparents, they have by and large moved away to improve themselves. The Muhtar is useless. I hope Milas takes over soon and we may see an improvement.

  3. This really is a warts and all look at life in your village, Ayak. I agree with Janice - it must be a health hazard to have so little concern for the state of rubbish around the place. I wonder if your village is the same, better or worse than other villages around Turkey - and if worse, what made the difference to those where the residents 'get' how to manage rubbish? Let's hope there's an improvement on the not too distant horizon.

    1. I've nothing to compare it with Annie/. I don't know if it's worse than other villages. I suspect it is but this is due to there not being a proper rubbish collection. I can kind of understand the elderly who live at the top of the hill finding it difficult to take their rubbish to the bins in the village and climb up again.

      The year before last, a couple of teachers from the village school organised their pupils with rubbish sacks and they went around the village one day picking up litter. Clearly someone cares, but not enough sadly.

  4. Having seen your temperature forecast for today and tried to imagine the stench of rotting rubbish in that heat, I can well understand your need to rant, Ayak. I think you're right that the elderly and uneducated villagers don't really know any better. They've lived like that all their lives, have obviously learned to ignore or not even smell the stench and are now too old to change. Here's hoping that Milas takes over and drags your village reluctantly into the 21st century.

  5. I do feel for you over this. I guess that it starts with educating children as to how to deal with the rubbish and they need to know basic hygiene too. If schools taught themT, they'd grow into responsible adults. I guess that the older generation have just been brought up that way.
    The smell & inconvenience must be awful. Glad the dogs didn't get sick eating the rotting chicken.
    Maggie x

    Nuts in May

    1. It's not pleasant Maggie. Yes I think education (about most things) is the way forward. Well only one dog had a slight upset stomach so not too bad xx

  6. It sounds very unpleasant. It is strange isnt it, how behind the times as far as basic hygiene & public rubbish collection the villagers are. I suppose it is the way for all poor countries but its not as though Turkey is the third world. I have to admit I could not live in such a place. It must feel very isolating with no-one to talk to who knows anything of the world or who has had any education, especially as you cannot even jump in a car & escape. But the advantages, like the beautiful countryside must outweigh the negatives or you wouldn't stay. I do hope Milas takes over soon & the rubbish problem is sorted out.

    1. Hi tricia. It seems like I have been very negative in my posts recently, but if I'm honest the positives to outweigh the negatives. Having spent years in the UK in social work, working with people, I actually enjoy time on my own. Yes of course it gets a bit lonely sometimes, but if I want intelligent conversation, then thank goodness for the internet!

      I hope Milas take over soon. Things can only improve of they do.

  7. I don`t know why Turks throw rubbish everywhere and destroy the environment in the process. Where I live, tractor`s come in the night under the cover of darkness and offload builders rubbish, old sofas etc etc. What annoys me most, is that there is a place in the Sanayi where you can take unwanted items and often they will pay for reusable items.
    The other day, Charlotte and I were coming back from Kipa on what I call the dogs road, as there used to be a dogs home on the corner.
    We saw a tractor full of old chairs, sofas and an old bathroom suite. He kept looking to the side of the road obviously for a suitable place to dump it. As I passed in the car, I looked in my mirror and saw that he had offloaded a couple of items. I immediately turned the car around and kept at a reasonable distance. I then took down his number plate and called the Zabita.
    I really hope he gets fined, because this dumping of rubbish must be stamped out. Where I live, people often come for a picnic. They leave their litter strewn all over the place despite there being a bin nearby. Is it laziness? Is it a could not care less attitude, or is it downright ignorance?

    1. Fleur, I have no idea what makes them do this but it is definitely getting worse. Education and media campaigns worked in the UK years ago, plus imposing fines, so maybe those are whats needed here?

      I hope the Zabita followed up on your report, but I somehow doubt it :-(


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