Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ankara Part II: June 22-June 30th, 2011

“Oh give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk to all of His wondrous works!” (Psalm 105:1-2, NKJV

Today marked mine and Jenny’s last “official” work day here in Ankara, so I thought it would be a good time to update my blog. Our time here has been short, yet, in just a few weeks I feel as if I have made lifetime connections and am beginning to see why Turkey tugs so strongly at Jenny's heart. We have had the privilege of providing hands on training in sensory integrations, body mechanics and transfers and accompanying the women of Kardelen on 6 home visits. We also had the opportunity to help 2 of the Kardelen workers, Necla and Hulya with their own personal therapy needs. Jenny and I have taken close to a thousand pictures, so narrowing them down to a mere 36 was a challenging task. There are so many stories to be told, but I think they are best told through pictures, so sit down, have a cup of cay (tea) and enjoy!

Sensory Integration Training: Last Friday we met at Kardelen’s Streams of Mercy Center where we were able to provide some basic principles and hands-on practice on sensory integration techniques. The women were attentive and were eager to participate, which made the trainings not only worthwhile but also quite fun! Norita, the director of Kardelen, did a fabulous job translating and truly “gets” SI.
Necla volunteers for some vestibular input

Jenny and I showing how to use a swing

Tuba enjoys some deep pressure

Kardelen staff in their sensory room
Dilek and Gulsen practice joint compressions

Tuba, Dawn and Necla

Jenny is very loved by the Kardelen women

Kisses from Hulya

Anitkabir: Saturday was a free day, so Jenny took the opportunity to provide me with a little Turkish history and culture lesson. We spent the day at Anitkabir, a national monument to Ataturk who was the founder/first president of Turkey.  Pictures and statues of Ataturk are everywhere in the country. He remains highly revered and beloved by the Turkish people.  If you are interested in reading more about Ataturk and his role in creating Turkey, please go to Jenny’s blog at:
Jenny and I at Anitkabir
Aslan (lion in Turkish) attacks Jenny!

Lions Road

Wheelchair accessibility
Circumcision Day~read more on Jenny's blog
Home Visits: During this past week we had the honor to assist with 5 more home visits. Most of those we visited live away from the main city, on the sides of steep hills in homes called gecikondus. Getting to these homes is not easy, thus the Kardelen teams typically can only visit 2 families per day.

On Thursday we visited Mehmet, a 13 year old boy with spastic cerebral palsy, and then Emine, a 23 year old with cognitive and some physical limitations. We were able to provide the families and Kardelen workers (Hulya and Gulsen) with some suggestions and also provided some hands-on therapy. Jenny also spent quality time teaching Emine’s mom back exercises and good body mechanics.

Showing Hulya and Mehmet's mom some therapy techniques
Mehmet and Jenny
Walking with Emine
Sevim (Emine's mom) and Jenny
Monday we were with Necla, one of Kardelen’s other workers. Necla is a polio survivor and thus uses a wheelchair, but this does not stop her from being an incredible advocate for people with disabilities! Jenny and I had wanted to go visit Caffer, the man we met at the Ankara Rehab Hospital, at his home. Caffer has a history of polio and now has a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. Unfortunately, getting to his apartment included going down a steep flight of 16 stairs. Because of this barrier, Necla typically would not be able to visit Caffer at his home. However, Jenny and I promised her that we could safely get her down (and then back up) the stairs. It was definitely challenging, but we succeeded! We then went to see Ibrahim, a young man with a spinal cord injury. Jenny was able to teach him about skin care and provided some tips on mobility. His family then surprised us with a scrumptious and abundant feast of homemade Turkish food and of course Turkish cay (tea). Afterward, we accompanied Necla and her sister Ceylan to a pool where Jenny and I were able to offer Necla some suggestions.
Caffer showing Jenny old photographs
Reviewing Caffer's medical reports with Dr Candy, Jenny and Norita
Group photo at Caffer's
Dr Candy and Jenny with Ibrahim and Caffer

Enjoying a Turkish feast at Ibrahim's

 Tuesday we went with Dilek and Serife, 2 of Kardelen’s workers to our last home visit.  Getting to this particular woman required taking a dolmus (mini-van), a metro, a train, and then a walk up a steep hill. Golbeyaz is a woman in her 50s who fell ~4 years ago and ended up with a spinal cord injury. She is basically bed-ridden and has no family to help; relying on her neighbors’ mercy to bring her food and assist with basic needs. She has a wheelchair, but it is too small for her so Kardelen is trying to raise money to provide her with a new wheelchair. Jenny and I were able to show her ways to get in/out of bed and we then helped her get into her wheelchair and go outside.  To see her affect change as soon as she was outside was priceless. She went from tearful to joyful!

Jenny teaching weight shifts
Group picture with Gulbeyaz outside in her wheelchair

Tuesday night was quite special as we were invited to dinner at Sedat’s, one of Jenny’s former patients, home.  It was great to finally meet Sedat as well as his family. Selda, Sedat’s sister-in-law, is a university professor of special education so we ended up having great conversations. By the end of the night, Suat (Sedat’s brother) dubbed us the “sisterhood of sensory integration”. Selda has invited me to come back and teach some lectures at the university, so perhaps a return to Turkey is in the future.
Jenny and Sedat
Ahhh heaven! Turkish cay (tea) with Sedat's mom
"Sisterhood of Sensory Integration"~me with Selda, Sedat's sister-in-law
Today (Thursday) we returned to Streams of Mercy (Kardelen’s office) to provide training on body mechanics and transfers. The women were eager to learn and so appreciative. At the end, Jenny and I were given handmade gifts (made by Dilek) and then the women each individually spoke to us, thanked us and asked God’s blessing on us.  The women of Kardelen have exemplified for me what it means to show humility, compassion and passion for sharing Christ.  It had truly been an honor to serve alongside them.
Jenny educating on transfer techniques

Jenny did a great job role playing a person with spasticity
Teaching 2 person lifts

Jenny, Norita and Dawn

The amazing Kardelen staff
Jenny and I will be leaving for Izmir and Ephesus on Saturday evening, and will then be heading to Istanbul on Monday evening. We continue to be thankful for your prayers and support.

Joyfully His,
Dawn (and Jenny)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Tale of Two Continents: Turkey (June 17th-June 22nd)

After spending a few days with Kayla in Budapest before seeing her off to the U.S., it was time for the next chapter of my journey to begin. I arrived in Istanbul on June 17th to meet up with my good friend and fellow occupational therapist, Jenny Crandall. Jenny met me at the airport, which is located on the Europe side of Istanbul, and then we traveled by metro, tram, ferry and foot to our hostel on the Asia side. I was shocked at how quickly I liked Istanbul despite it's enormous size! While on the ferry, Jenny introduced me to my new addiction~Turkish Cay (a strong black tea drank with sugar and served in these little glasses without any handles).  
Because I arrived so late in the day, we decided to wait until the following afternoon to take the 5+ hour bus ride to Ankara. This also gave Jenny time to give me a quick tour of the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.  We also visited the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts as they had a special exhibition on 17th-19th century Anatolian Kilims (rugs).

My first view of Istanbul~Europe and Asia

Crossing the Bosphorous

Turkish girls eating the Turkish version of an ice cream sandwich
Along the streets of Istanbul

Anatolian Kilims at the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts
17th-19th Century Kilim (rug)

Women from all over the world at the church in Ankara
 We arrived in Ankara on the 19th and have been staying with Norita and Ken Erickson, a couple who have lived in Turkey for 25+ yrs. Ken founded a wheelchair company called Kifas and Norita heads up Kardelen, the foundation Jenny and I are working with while we are here in Ankara. In the past Kardelen had a strong emphasis on working with abandoned children in the state orphanage; however, over the past year they have transitioned to serving the disabled in the community. While we are here Jenny and I will be going on home visits and providing some basic trainings and inservices. Kardelen also has a wonderful space for a multisensory room in their Streams of Mercy center. Jenny and I spent Monday sorting through and organizing equipment, and then went shopping with 2 of the Kardelen workers (Hulya and Gulsen) to find a few other needed things.  Finding simple items, such as bubbles and shoe laces, turned into a several hour shopping trip! On Friday we are scheduled to do an inservice for the Kardelen staff. I am excited to not only explain sensory processing, but also show how to implement techniques in their newly organized room.

This is Jenny's 4th trip to Turkey so it has been fun for her to show me around and introduce me to Turkish culture. I am so incredibly thankful to be here with her. On Sunday we visited Ankara Kalesi (Citadel) with Hassam, one of Kardelen's workers.  Walking through the inner streets of the citadel gave me my first taste of the day to day life of the poor in Ankara. But despite their poverty, their were smiles to be exchanged and laughing to be heard. The views from the top of the citadel were spectacular and definitely made the climb up the steep steps much deserved.

Turkish woman knitting purses

Ankara Kalesi (Citadel)

old residential area in the Citadel

Jenny and I at the top of the Citadel

Home Visits with Kardelen Team~ Yesterday Jenny and I accompanied Kardelen workers Serife and Delik, along with Dr Candy (a physician from South Africa) and Sibel (our translator) on a home visit on the outskirts of Ankara. Ferdi is a 26 year old with multiple disabilities who recently had to move to his aunt's home because his grandmother (his primary caregiver) passed away. Jenny and I were able to briefly assess his skills and then provide the family with training on transfers and feeding skills. Ferdi's aunt is very motivated and has taught him so much in only 3 months, he is truly blessed by his family's love and care.

Our first home visit in Ankara

Teaching feeding skills
Ankara Rehabilitation Hospital~On Monday we went to the rehab hospital to meet up with Necla to see Jafer, a man she is helping through Kardelen. Because we did not have approval to enter the hospital, our meeting occured in a garden adjacent to the hospital.  Jafer has multiple sclerosis, recently lost the ability to walk and is now having pressure wounds from the leg supports that the hospital made for him. He is to be released from the hospital this week, so Jenny and I are scheduled to do a home visit with him next week. After our visit to Jafer, Norita took us to the Ministry of Health to request a visit to the hospital. After 3 hours of running around, we were successful!
Yesterday we returned to the hospital and were given a tour of the rehab department.  We also had the honor of meeting 2 Turkish occupational therapists and getting to hear the positive steps Turkey is making to develop the profession of occupational therapy.
Occupational Therapists at the Ankara Rehab Hospital

Dawn, Jenny and Norita with Hilal, the hospital administrator
Occupational Therapy room at Ankara's Rehab Hospital

 Today we are off to do 2 more home visits and then tomorrow we will be providing in-services. Jenny and I would both covet your prayers that we would have great impact during our time here in Ankara.

Peace and Joy,