The rainiest day I could remember this past summer, it was a Monday, I do not remember the month or the day, but I know it was a Monday because I remember perfectly as if it was a funny event yesterday that I can’t get  out of my head.

That day, I remember being in front of the computer doing some personal issues and suddenly I received by magic, an email from the Spanish National Agency where I was being informed that I had been selected to attend an annual seminar on Istanbul from the twenty-second to the twenty-six of October. I smiled inside, and I thought – Marcel, this is your opportunity.

I had always been curious to be able to visit this exotic country, which, curiously, is in Europe, and by circumstances, I could never go. Well, quickly, I replied with a resounding confirmation and, after a month, I already had the flights purchased.

This week in Turkey has been very worthwhile. On Track 3 NEET, it is a TC organized by the Erasmus + Turkish National Agency which is carried out every year. This year, this fantastic congress has invited ninety-four participants from twenty different nationalities from all over Europe and Asia, where has tackled the issue of the evils called ‘Ni-Ni’ in our country.

A very current issue, and although it may seem unrealistic, many countries in Europe and Asia face this reality among youngsters under twenty-five. As I said at the beginning, we only spent five days, but they were just as intense as reading Virginia Woolf’s novel. Among the issues that we discussed, there were many and very interesting ones that I will highlight below.

This activity took place the twenty-third in the afternoon from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Among the participants, there were eight young people who, thanks to the programs offered by Erasmus +, had left behind an obscure, dreary, chaotic and certainly sad past. From one day to another, they could learn everything that this fantastic world offers, EVS, TC, Youth Exchange among others, and today they are young people who have a very succulent future in front.

Among these stories, each of these people, without hurry and with a silence in the room that suggested that there was absolutely no one, explained their personal story, where more than one ended with tears. The most applauded activity of the week, and, thanks to it, I will base the study that we must do next year.

The same afternoon, we did a small trip to a ‘local station’. We had the opportunity to choose between three, and I chose the so-called EKIP.

The Turkish government, in response to the chaotic and worrying situation of Syria society, decided a matter of one year ago, giving opportunities to Syrian women refugees in Turkey.

Next to our hotel, there is one of the faculties of the University of Istanbul. This faculty, six months ago, started a project for these women, which consists of three sections:

  1. Teaching them Turkish
  2. Create a unique space for women with few work opportunities.
  3. A safe place for them, where they are not being judged or molested and that they could get the best of themselves.

For this reason, the aim goal of EKIP project, is to create urban gardens within one of the gardens of this faculty, and that they themselves can grow vegetables and fruits. Once the raw material is grown, they teach them how to cook in a professional way, and this food is sold in the dining room of the faculty.

A project that definitely fascinated me. We took pictures of the ladies, but for a religious matter I can’t publicly show them at their request.

Last activity on the twenty-fifth day before giving the farewell to the entire group. In this case, all the people who wanted could have exhibited their shipping organization. For two hours, spread across all areas of the hotel, there were thirty-minute talks where everyone could go and hear what each person was talking about. This activity was optional, and not everyone exposed. In this case, I did it, and I talked about the TC of Georgia and the issue we are working on reconciliation. I also talked about the project that I am doing about LGBT + in Latvia.

Projects that were very well received, and that many people put a special interest on them. I was very pleased to see that people had been attentive and that they really showed interest.

That same day, at 7:00 PM we took the farewell, I would have liked, however, that these days had been longer, I have been wanting more.

In some way or another, the countries that are close to Turkey are always reflected in that famous phrase of ‘One Thousand and One Nights’. Apart from working hard, because, yes, we have been hardworking, we have also enjoyed time, despite being little, to see the city of Istanbul, to enjoy the unique atmosphere it has, and at the same time, to be able to breathe the personal spirit that makes of this unique city.