I wanted to go to Van for some days, but couldn't find a host, as most students did have holidays and went to the west. But I got offered to go to Erciş, a city north of Van at Van Gölü (Van lake). The person who organized my stay, Hasan, and all my hosts there couldn’t speak english, so I communicated via a Facebook group chat with a girl who translated everything between me and Hasan.

At my first host in Erciş, Kardin (a cousin of Hasan), I stayed in a shared flat with three students who could talk maybe 10 words of english. We communicated with dictionaries, hands and foots. We even managed to play a nice round of Okey. The students didn't have warm water, so we went to a Hamam for taking a bath.

  • Lots of shoe cleaners

  • My hosts in Erciş were very clean

At the second day I met some more cousins and uncles of Hasan (he has 120 cousins) and we went to a small village called Deliçay. There I met more family members and I slept in a classic kurdish living room with lots of carpets and cushions and one coal oven in the center of the room.

I had dinner and breakfast with them and realized, that only men ate together. The women and girls were cooking, bringing the food and tea to the "table" and cleaned up afterwards. While we had dinner someone spilled his tea, a young girl came, cleaned up and brought a new tea for him.

I confronted the men with that realization and my opinion of it being very old fashioned behavior. They said they know how it is in the western world, but they don't see why they should change it. It's a lazy life for them at home. After getting huge amounts of children, the women stay at home their whole life anyways.

It was positiv though, that I could talk freely about it and they were very open for discussion. Sadly we couldn't really discuss it further as we had strong language barriers, there was only one person who could talk little english in the whole family.

  • The family who hosted me in Deliçay

  • Where's the food?

  • Girl cleaning after dinner

  • Living room converted into bedroom