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Week 5 Begins [30 Jul 2006|09:36pm]
Endu speaking. Consider me your David and Leesa for the next two weeks. While the trip's ended for most of us, I'm still here in Turkey with Nils, Jacob Reynolds, and Bob Wilson.

After our sad departing at the airport Friday evening, Nils, Jacob and I went with Gulsun to her apartment in Istanbul to stay for the night. She and her boyfriend, an artist/bartender, were very kind and hospitable, offering us a room, food, and change of clothes. After a mostly successful attempt at communicating the next day's schedule while half-delirious from exhaustion, the three of us fell asleep quickly.

We woke Saturday morning at 8:00 and were served an excellent breakfast with fresh vegetables, a tasty omelet, and far too much tea. Bob Wilson and the two minibuses arrived just before 9:00, at which point we began our long drive back to Bursa. Halfway through we stopped briefly for tea, and back on the road a little while later ran across a semi truck that had somehow been driven halfway off of the highway. We waited about twenty minutes unsure of how long it would take while a crane on the opposite side of the road made an unsuccessful attempt to pull the trailer out of the ditch, the whole time stretched horizontal about ten feet off of the ground so as to form a barrier that backed up traffic behind us farther than we could see. Arrival at the guesthouse was pain-free; Bob got a room without any problems, and the three of us stayed in the two rooms we had.

On Sunday morning Bob was introduced to our favorite, always-unique breakfast and the catchy morning techno, then headed out to the beach for a little recovery from jetlag. Communication of the day's plans to the people in charge at the guesthouse became a huge, garbled discussion in neither English nor Turkish, but we think most of it got sorted out after about 45 minutes. Here's the long, complicated plan, exactly as we gave it to them:

Plaj (Beach): 10:30 - 12:30
Teleferik (Gondola): 13:00 - 16:00


Confusing, isn't it? Most of the trouble seemed to come from one security guard who had overheard the conversation, and knew just enough more English than the others to give him some authority in the matter, but didn't understand a thing after everyone else had figured each other out. As soon as we were clear on something he'd step in and confuse the issue more and more, and didn't stop until about twenty minutes after Bob had simply gotten up and left with the driver who had understood perfectly from the beginning.

After all of the struggle, when it came time to actually board the gondola, we discovered that our efforts had been made in vain. Because it was a Sunday, the gondola was overwhelmed with people headed up for the day, with a long line stretching outside the building and a painfully slow wait for only two gondolas to move the crowd. We all agreed that the line was too long and the sun too hot, so we turned the other direction to walk through the small market nearby.

Returning to the guesthouse three hours earlier than we'd planned I'm sure made everyone think they were crazy. With the extra time, we decided to begin work on what computers remained down in the dungeon. In the past we'd worked on the computers upstairs and inside, but the three of us really didn't want to haul all 75 computers up and around the building alone. Our simple solution: run a spool of power cable from an outlet in LOKAL out the window, over a walkway, down a railing, around the outside of the building, up the steps to the kitchen's back door, under the door, down the other steps, along an exposed wall, and through the cat's cannonball hole in the wall into the dungeon. We wired a power strip on to one end and a plug to the other, in the end having effectively one huge power strip that reached literally around the building.


Work in the dark progressed well despite not being able to supply our KVM with 110V power, and before dinner we'd reached our 71st of 75 computers ready to go to the schools. We still have an unsettlingly large pile of problem computers labeled "NO VID," and still no replacement video cards, because somehow in the long line of communications our order of "network cards and video cards" reached Bob as "network cards and sound cards." We're racking our brains to try to solve the problem, and expect to spend more time down with the cats of the dungeon on Monday.

-Andy
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Home [30 Jul 2006|07:24pm]
David Harwood here, sitting at home, for my final update here for the sake of completeness. I'm not sure how many people will read this, but I might as well update anyway.
On Thursday, most of the team went to visit the Green Mosque. I can't tell you much about it since I didn't actually go. I was completely out of clean clothes, so I ended up staying behind to do laundry. Not a great situation to be in, but it had to be done. Philip also stayed behind due to the infection in his ankle. Once everyone came back, there was some sitting around, then everyone was called into the salon. The reason? To celebrate Ben's birthday! There was cake and conversation, since we had already given him presents earlier in the day. There was more sitting around after we ran out of cake, until it was time to leave for Osmangazi.
This is where things began to get weird. Our driver apparently did not understand where it was we wanted to go. So he began driving, and we began doing whatever it was we were doing in the back (something memorable, apparently). After about 45 minutes, we noticed that something wasn't right. The ride would normally take about 20 to 30 minutes. Not only that, it looked almost like we were going the wrong direction, like we were headed toward Iznik... As I'm sure you can guess, we got to the closing ceremonies at Osmangazi a little late. Fortunately, I was wrong in my assumption that we had to do a skit, so we just sat in the back and watched, sometimes with campers coming up and asking us to sign their shirts.
We got back very early Friday morning, and most just collapsed into bed. That made the next morning very rushed though, since we were leaving at about 6 in the morning to go to Istanbul, a four hour drive away. That left very little time for sleeping, what with having to shower, finish packing, get laundry off the line, load up the van, etc. We left with minimum trouble after everything was packed. The drive into Istanbul was uneventful. We stopped at a small cafe to get something to drink. There was a stop for lunch.
Eventually, we ended up at the Blue Mosque. Mary left to get Bob from the airport, so the rest of us walked over to the nearby Grand Bazaar. It was actually a very nice place, despite being choked with tourists there buying souvenirs and sellers with items marked up 100%. The inside was just a nice place to be, and had all sorts of small shops selling all manner of things. After all the wandering and buying, we went down to get food at a very small cafe that was very near the Blue Mosque. There was a trip to a small park, then it was time to meet the vans. We met up with Leight, Mary, and Bob, then all of us went back to the Blue Mosque, and went inside.
For those wondering, I don't think I can really describe what it looked like inside. There were many pictures taken, so you could probably get a better idea of what it looked like inside from pictures. We gathered outside in the courtyard that we had wandered through on the first day we arrived in Turkey (seems like so long ago), the made our way over to another cafe. This time, it was to see a Whirling Dervish (not how it's spelled, but this is an American keyboard) and listen to music. We did a good deal of that, as well as eating, then it was onto the vans for the final time.
We were dropped off outside the terminal at the Ataturk International Airport. We unloaded everything that would be going back home with us, and said our goodbyes to the Turks who were with us, as well as to the people staying behind for another two weeks (that would be Jacob Reynolds, Andy, and Nils, since there wasn't room on the flight home for Rachel, Nikki, and Luke). We made sure that everyine had everything, and went through the first wave of security to get into th airport. Then we sat down to wait. This however, was at about midnight, and the check-in for our flight didn't begin until 8:30 in the morning. So people wandered, got food, did a last bit of shopping, and evetually fell asleep.
Morning found us frantically getting everything together for check in, making sure everything was sealed, organizing things, and figuring out an order for check-in. We got everything taken care of, went through passport control, then sat down to wait some more. Mr. Rye and his family showed up and joined us in sitting around. There were some food runs before we left, but it wasn't long after we started waiting that we found that the flight was delayed, so we waited some more.
After all the waiting was done, we went to the lounge and boarded the plane. We were scattered throughout the plane, but it was mostly just another normal plane ride. Getting through New York was fun, though. Since the plane was delayed by about two hours we were rushed for time. It didn't help that it took a long time for the tubs that we had to pick up and recheck to get into the convayer belt. From there, it was mass stacking and running to try to get to the terminal. I can distinctly remember pulling my cart to a stop in front of the JetBlue check-in counter with 30 minutes left to departure, and hearing with horror that we now had to open all the tubs so that they could be checked before loading. We were handed a pair of scissors to cut the zip ties, and told to get to it.
And get to it we did. Once all the needed zip ties were cut, Mr. Rye told us to go to the gate to make sure we got on the airplane. He would wait with the tubs. So all of us students were flat-out running to get to the gate, wishing security would go faster, and nervously checking watches and clocks every 30 seconds to see how much time we had left. We made it in time, and were standing in line when Kjerstin came up. Apparently, she had missed her flight home (which was different than ours), so she ended up getting her father's seat. We still weren't sure about Mr. Rye, though. Eventually, we heard that the flight was full, and Mr. Rye would be staying in New York that night.
So it was that we were seated without our fearless leader for our final flight of the trip. The flight back was nice, if uneventful overall. We got into Sea-Tac, made sure everyone was there, then walked out to meet parents. There was much hugging and welcoming back, then we all headed down to baggage claim to get our tubs. After some worrying over whether tubs got through, they finally came down the belt, where they were quickly retrieved. However, there were still five tubs missing. Ben, Rachel, and I stayed to last and talked to a JetBlue rep, who said the tubs would most likely be coming on the next flight, which would be at 12:10 the next day.
So it was that another trip down to Sea-Tac was made to collect tubs. I grabbed them all, and delivered a couple on the way back home.
And that's that. We haven't heard from Mr. Rye yet, but I would think he's on the flight home by now, assuming he hasn't already arrived and just collapsed into bed. Regardless, this is my last post on the LiveJournal. Hopefully, someone still in Turkey will post a little to say how they've been. There might be a couple other things posted, as well. My job, however, is done. Thank you to everyone who read this, thank you to Nikki and Andy for their posts, and thank you to my teammates. I hope eveyone enjoyed reading what I had to write.
Until we meet again!
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Quick update [29 Jul 2006|11:07am]
David Harwood here, sitting in the food court of the Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul. This is going to have to be quick, since there are others waiting to use the connection. Right now, our flight out of Turkey to New York has been delayed by two hours and twenty minutes. I don't think this will have too much effect on our arrival time back home, though.
I'll see what I can do about a summary of the past few days later, for the sake of completeness. Unitl then, just know that everything is fine, and we have met up with Mr. Rye again.
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Surprising! [26 Jul 2006|11:27pm]
David Harwood here, sitting in the Bursa guesthouse. Right now, everyone has arrived from their respective camps, so we’re all back together here. Since I don’t know what the Iznik crew did (for the most part), I’ll just have to start back at Osmangazi.
The night that I made the last post (the day was pretty boring), we went out on the town again. This time, a few of the counselors took us to the actual city part of the area. Unfortunately, all we had to ride in was a small car, with only enough seats for five, including the driver. The nine of us going into town had to do some serious squishing to get everyone in, but we eventually succeeded, and the poor little car left for the city.
We pulled into the garage of a shopping center, unloaded, and left the garage, heading towards a pub. Don’t worry; none of us students (or our chaperones) drank any alcohol. Instead, we all just got something to drink, had a little bit to eat, and listened to some music. Finally, we made our way back to the car, squished ourselves in again, and made it back to camp.
The next morning, we did our morning routines as quickly as we could so that we could go on a trip to visit Iznik camp. After a semi-long ride, we pulled up to the front, and piled out. We made our way up to the computer lab where most of the Americans stationed at Iznik were. I suppose that this would be a good time to mention that we had “forgotten” to tell anyone at Iznik that we were coming. So when those of us from Osmangazi walked in, the Iznik crew did a double take. And there was much rejoicing.
Some were still teaching lessons, so those of us who were not assigned the role of teacher waited around for a while. Everyone ate lunch, then went out on the town. I’ll spare you the descriptions of Iznik (you can ask your own kid about it, since I only got to wander for an hour), but we did stop at St. Sophia’s Church, where the Council of Nicea was held.
After all of the wandering, it was time to part ways once again. Goodbyes were said, then Osmangazi crew was off. Back at camp, we brainstormed ideas for the skit we had to do at campfire that night. We settled on one, performed it, and it was a big hit (I won’t describe it here for you, since it would ruin the humor. Leesa has it on her camera, so it might end up in the team video (I hope)). We stayed up late to stargaze, then went to bed.
This morning, we went through the morning routine, packed up our stuff, then got onto the bus to go do some sightseeing. We started off at a hotel with amazing history behind it, then made our way to a schoolhouse that had long since fallen into disrepair. It was a very interesting building, even in a state of partial collapse. We were on our way to the next place when we ran into something we hadn’t seen before in Turkey: other Americans! An elderly couple was researching family history, and we were going in the same direction, so they came with us. We described Global Technology Academy, Garfield High School, and what we had been doing in Turkey. They told us about what they had been doing there (sorry, I didn’t catch what it was), then we all arrived at a little church built somewhere in the neighborhood of 1000 years ago. There were paintings on the walls, and it was amazing to see how well preserved so much of the painting was.
At this point, we split from the elderly couple for a while, and, with a promise to meet them for lunch in a little while, wandered the streets for a bit. We looked around, poked our heads through doors, and so on, until we came to the restaurant. Lunch consisted of half of a bluefin for everyone, all of which quickly disappeared. There was a little fighting over the bill, but in the end, we were treated to lunch. We got back onto the bus with the elderly couple, who needed to get back to Bursa anyway, and made for Osmangazi. We gave them a tour of the camp, and showed them the computer lab. Finally, it was time to say goodbye. We packed up everything from the tents, loaded it into the bus, and left, while our friends got a ride to where they needed to go from one of the counselors.
The bus dropped us off at the guesthouse before leaving to get the Iznik crew. There was waiting around, attempts to get the Internet connection to work again, etc, until the other half of GTA arrived. We’ve all moved into our respective rooms, so that brings me to the end of this post. Tomorrow, we have to have another skit ready for the Osmangazi closing ceremonies (fortunately, the camp’s only 30 minutes away), and then we leave for home on Saturday. Sometime in there, we hope to make it back to Istanbul to do some sightseeing.
Hard to believe it’s almost over. There are just about two days left before we come home, and two weeks more for a few others, but it really is almost over. There’s only Thursday, Friday, a small piece of Saturday, a long plane ride, a layover, and another plane rode until we’re back home in Seattle, exhausted, suntanned, and sorry that it ended so soon.
Finally, and this will probably be the last schedule change of the trip, Nikki, Rachel, and Luke will not be coming home with us, but will instead be wandering Turkey for an extra two weeks with Jacob Reynolds, Andy, and Nils. Congratulations to them! Until next time, remember that when you’ve got tubs to pack with, things get packed much faster.
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Wandering, eating, and hoping bottles don't explode [24 Jul 2006|09:25am]
This is David Harwood in in Osmangazi saying GOOOOOOD MORNING! Yes, I know that when I'm posting this, it's about 11:30 at night back home, but it's 9:30am here.
After people came back from the zoo yesterday, there wasn't really much to do. There is a second computer lab that is having troubles that we need to work on, but work on that isn't starting until today. There was much sitting around to be done, and we were the perfect team for the job, so we went to it with gusto (as much gusto as it takes to sit in front of computer anyway). We also interacted with the kids. Whenever they weren't busy, they would come up to see what we were doing, play some games online, etc. From what I can tell, though, they were frequently busy, so we had the lab to ourselves most of the day.
Time passed, night fell, and the idea entered someones head that perhaps we should do something. However, since this was well after ten, all the kids were asleep, so what was there to do? The answer: wander the streets of Bursa for a while. It was actually kind of nice at night. It was really quiet, and the park that we all sat at for a while was peaceful. It was also just nice to wander around in comfortable temperatures outside with few things pressing on us.
We got back to the camp after midnight, and found all of the counselors roasting corn over an open fire. We sat with them for a while, ate some corn and peaches, and just watched the fire, even when someone threw a full water bottle onto the fire and we were all wondering whether it would pop somewhere and send boiling water and molten plastic flying everywhere (for the record, it didn't).
We weren't ready to go to bed just yet, so we grabbed our sleeping pads, headed out to the football pitch (soccer field), and then we all just lie down to look at the stars. People went to bed one by one.
Today, not much has happened. Breakfast ended a half hour ago. There are a few students here in the lab right now, just watching what the Americans are doing online. There really hasn't been time for much to happen yet, so I guess I'll end it here. Until next time, remember that no matter how much you walk a hallway during the day, it's always much creepier at night when it's dark, deserted, and your footsteps echo.
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On the road again...Wishing I could feel my legs again... [23 Jul 2006|11:29am]
David Harwood here, sitting in the computer lab in Osmangazi. It's been a very long weekend, but I'll do what I can to get everyone up to speed.
We actually did leave for Bursa on Friday, "we" being everyone but Mr. Rye and his family, all of whom stayed behind in Alanya. We just left at about 7pm, on a 16 hour ride to Bursa, with no leg room. There wasn't much of interest on the ride itself; it was just a very long ride in an over packed van, in which it was difficult to sleep, and no one had leg room.
We stopped off first at Osmangazi. Everyone immediately unloaded stuff and got out of the van, wandered (or limped, depending on their position for the past few hours) for a bit, then everyone going to Iznik went to a picnic with the kids. Those of us staying here in Osmangazi slept, sat around, and eventually got lunch at a nearby restaurant. We got back, said goodbye to the people leaving for Iznik, then just hung around here for a while. There was much interacting with the kids, then bed.
This morning, most of the crew here has gone to the zoo with the kids, with only Leesa and I around to hold down the fort (read: waste time in the computer lab). Actually, that's about it. Felt like a lot more when I was going through it. Ah well.
A few other things. If you're wondering where your kid is, they're probably at Iznik. Only Leesa, Jacob Reynolds, Nils, Nikki, Luke, and myself are in Osmangazi. And remember that this is the last week, so we're on our way home soon (if you're on the Google Group, you already that Noam said this better than I ever could, so consider this a quick reminder) Until next time, remember that ordering fast food for 15 people only works if you have the orders, and ordering 15 chicken burgers, no matter how cheap, doesn't satisfy people.
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Panoramas [23 Jul 2006|01:11am]
I've been taking panoramic sequences most places I've been. You can see them all here, and there are a few samples below.

pano771-779pano2910-2916pano450-453pano456-459pano678-680pano839-844pano541-545pano716-721pano720-725pano496-503pano653-658pano3016-3020pano2847-2849pano3012-3015
More...


I don't have my favorite panorama stitching software here so I've been using a quick and easy "automatic" stitcher which doesn't always produce very good results. For now just deal with the discontinuities and know that I'll stitch them properly later on.

-Andy
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No business like show business [21 Jul 2006|08:52am]
Once again, David Harwood is here, sitting in Alanya. We should be leaving for Bursa today, but we might not, so we're just waiting until we hear something concrete right now.
Yesterday was far more eventful than the previous day, which consisted of sitting around. The first part of the day was the same as usual: wake up, eat, shower or swim, etc. Things got a bit weird when it came time for lessons, though. When we went down to start teaching, we found that we were missing something very important: the students! Apparently, the kids were practicing their performance for campfire that night, so we had plenty of time to sit around and try to come up with ideas for the 5-minute skit we were supposed to do that night. Lunch came and went without any consensus on a skit.
After lunch, we had a quick team meeting to discuss how things were going to work at the campfire. It was decided that Ben and Luke would be doing a juggling act, while the rest of us would be doing a skit.
We adjourned to discuss the skit. I suggested we try physical comedy to keep the campers entertained, and that somehow became dumping flour on Philip's head. We came up with a simple little skit that would hopefully last for five minutes, then practiced it (minus the flour). Once Mr. Rye saw and approved the skit, he suggested that we go swimming in the Mediterranian. We did so, but everyone eventually ended up in the pool.
A few hours later, while we were wasting time in the water, Mary came and told us that the schedule had changed again. Dinner was being eaten at 6 (which was right then), then we would be leaving at 8 to go to a different location to perform the skit. This meant that dumping anything on Philip's head was off (much to his relief). Unfortunately, we now lacked an ending to our skit. We rushed to come up with one on the way to the venue.
The event that we were at was meant as a congratulations/informational session about how the camp went (I think it was anyway; I didn't understand a lot of what was said). The campers went up to perform before we did, and had an amazing performance that put our little show to shame. We were then called up right after the campers. Nils, Rachel, Ben, Leesa, Laura, Kjersten, Jake, and Philip took their places an stage while Andy and myself waited backstage for our cues, and Thomas sat in the audience filming the play for the team video (Nikki, Jacob Reynolds, and Mr. Rye were back at the camp, dealing with a few problems).
I will refrain from going over the skit here since it will be in the team video. Just know that we weren't really ready to perform this in front of the parents who were also there.
Ben and Luke went on after the skit to do their performance. I'll leave the description of that to Luke himself.
The rest of the event was mostly us sitting watching small performance that we couldn't really understand. Near the end, though, we were called up along with the campers for pictures and to express the close relationship between GTA and the camp. After the event ended, we made our way back to the camp. We arrived to the darkened camp after midnight, along with the campers who had not been picked up by their parents at the event. The darkness provided for some incredible stars and a veryclear view of the Milky Way. Eventually, however, we all made our way to bed.
This morning has been fairly relaxed. We haven't even had breakfast yet, though it would normally have been served over an hour ago. Today will most likely consist of packing, driving, and sleeping. We might stop to see some sights, and we might spend the night between Alanya and Bursa, but none of that is known yet.
Well, there's nothing more to say here. Until next time, remember that you can have about five different plans to get from point A to point B, and still have all of them not work out.
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A couple map points in Alanya for you... [20 Jul 2006|12:16pm]
John Burdick

Our favorite ice cream shop (under the center mark)
with the Red Tower and castle nearby on the hill
(http://www.flashearth.com/?lat=36.537129&lon=31.997836&z=17.8&r=0&src=0)

John Burdick

Approximate location of the summer camp
conveniently hidden under a strip of low-resolution imagery
(http://www.flashearth.com/?lat=36.405717&lon=32.172933&z=13.1&r=0&src=0)


-Andy
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So...hot... [19 Jul 2006|07:36pm]
David Harwood here, still in Alanya. Today, in case you can't tell from my rather uninspired title, has been extremely hot. This, of course, made it an excellent day to waste in the pool, but more on that later.
After the post last night, there was campfire. Oddly enough, none of the Americans performed last night, but Ben was made DJ for the program, so at least the Americans were involved in some small way. After the campfire, some of us went out to sleep on the dock. It was right over the Mediterranian, and it was farly noisy, but I actually slept better there than the previous night. The next morning, we recieved some unexpected news: lessons were strting early today, at nine specifically. Unfortunately, this wasn't confirmed until about 9:30. So we all sprinted to our rspective assignments, and got to the teaching.
After the lessons ended at 11, the kids left to go to a waterfall. This, of course, left us with a lot of free time, so we made for the pool. We spent almost all day in the pool, or, at least, in the vicinity of the pool. I think the only exceptions were Andy and Thomas, who went with Mr. Rye to go look at the future site of all of the computers here. As the day wore on back here by the pool, people began leaving after soaking all day. Some left to go take in a movie (in an air conditioned room). Others stayed in the pool for a while, then just left when the fancy struck them.
Actually, that's about all that's happened today. We just finished dinner, and campfire hasn't happened yet, so that's about it. I and everyone else are just sitting around for the moment, but that should hopefully change in about one hour when campfire begins. Until next time, remember that sleeping late can cause you to delay a shower for hours.
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Together Again [18 Jul 2006|06:13pm]
David Harwood here, posting from Alanya. I can tell you with absolute certainty that the Urfa crew has arrived in Alanya safely after a 15.5 hour bus ride that ended in us being dumped next to a gas station for Mr. Rye to pick up. We arrived at the camp about 8:30, and we were greeted by everyone who was already here. It was great to see the rest of the team again. The four of us wolfed down breakfast, went to the team meeting, then went and did what we wanted, since Urfa crew was excused from working with the kids for the day.
After lunch, we went out to get ice cream. The ice cream was very good, and I think the current estimate is that we ate 6 kilograms altogether. We then went to burn off some sugar with a long hike in the very hot sun. Unfortunately, this was a very impromptu hike along the ancient wall of the Alanya Castle, so there were some problems with footwear and climbing. The view was amazing, however. Luke, Thomas and Jacob Smith had a small rock throwing contest from the top of the wall to hit the Mediterranian far below (I think Thomas won). Finally, we began the long hike back. It was clear from this point that thewre was no way we would make it back to the camp in time for dinner (the bus ride alone was 45 minutes), so we just ate right there. We made it back in time for campfire, however, where I once again went up to sing a song that the Turkish students didn't understand, but found amusing anyway.
Today, we found out that the kids were going on a field trip, so we took advantage of the time to go on our own field trip. We started by going to the museum at the Castle. Then we went wandering around the castle itself. We all piled back onto the bus for a very long ride to a small town. We visited a mosque, and got a chance to go inside and look around. We got lunch, then went to a small building in the small village to hear about plans for tomorrow, and talk about what would be happening to the computers after the camp ends this week. We then got back here after another very long bus ride, where we are now waiting for dinner.
Some schedule changes that you might already know but I'm going to put here anyway for completion's sake. Going back to Urfa is off. There are worries about affairs in the Middle East, and there isn't really anything left to do there anyway. As such, we will be sticking together for the last two weeks, going to Bursa next week, then coming home. I admit that I don't know what we'll be doing in Bursa, but I can guess that it will involve teaching how to use computers, and how to speak English to the Turkish students.
Well, that's about it from here. Until next time, remember that the best way to avoid morning heat is to sleep outside.
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[16 Jul 2006|06:58pm]
Hello!
This is Nikki in Alanya. We arrived here Friday after a long, cramped, 12 hour busride from Bursa. It was worth the trip though, as it is gorgeous here. The camp is right on the beach, which means we not only have anamazing view, but get to go swimming whenever we please. We did exactly that this weekend, spending Saturday swimming in both the pool and the ocean, and Sunday we were taken to a Turkish greased wrestling festival by our hosts, followed by an evening of swimming. The Turkish greased wrestling was very interesting,and we took a 2 hour ride up the mountain to reach the place where it was held, which was essentially a field. Our hosts managed to procure us what were literally ringside seats, which was nice of them. We start teaching the kids tomorrow (the labis already complete), and will be teaching a few hours each day, a combination of English and technology. Lets see.... Our team has gotten smaller inthe past few days, due to CJ, Jeff, Linnea, Becky, and Chris leaving the night we arrived, to head back to the States, to much disappointment. Anwar and Mary Sussex left a day later to tour Turkey, and Carl left this afternoon for Greece. We miss them all very much, but we are enjoying the rest of the team being together. We will be joined shortly by the Urfa crew (David, Jacob S., Jacob R., and Nils), and then we will have the complete team once again.
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Mission complete [15 Jul 2006|06:47pm]
David Harwood here, sitting in the now-complete lab in Urfa for what may be the second to last time ever.
We've been doing a lot of work here getting everything set up. The kids, however, left on Thursday, so it has been peaceful and quiet here. The lab here is set a little differently than the one in Osmangazi, but it has Internet access, all the computers that were needed, converted keyboards, and adequate power. Now the only remaining work to do comes in the form of cleaning up the room, fixing any minor bugs that might still remain, etc. There are also still a few things beyond our control, like the building's annoying habit of completely losing power every once in a while, but for the most part, everything is good.
Outside the lab, we've also been quite busy. On Tuesday, after the Internet cafe, we went to the town of Harran. There, we saw a castle that had been there for many thousands of years. As before, pictures are forthcoming (we hope). Yesterday and today, there was a little souvenir shopping done. Each of us is now the proud owner of a complete tea set. Now all we need is the tea.
Other than that, it's been a lot of sitting around in the air conditioned lab. We hear the sounds of American bombers going overhead from time to time, but that's about it.
One more piece of news. Those of us sitting here in Urfa right now are finally going back to see the rest of the team (well, those who are still here). Tomorrow, at 4pm, we get on a bus for a 16 hour ride to Alanya. So to everyone there, we'll see you at around 8 or 9am on Monday!
To those who have left and are on their way back (if they aren't there already), it's been great working with you here. I'm sorry that I didn't get more chances to do so.
Well, that's about all I can think of for now. Until next time, remember that, no matter how cute the feral kittens are, feeding them is a bad idea because they will never leave you alone.
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Alanya [12 Jul 2006|02:22pm]
Hey everyone this is the team in Alanya. I have to leave soon so this will be a short update! We finished the lab yesterday and then were able to go out around the town on a tour courtesy of Professor Halil(our contact in Turkey). First we were taken to the caves near Alanya and got to walk inside for a bit. The cave was huge so we were all pretty exhausted by the time we got out of there so we headed back to camp for lunch then to head out to town again. This time we went to The Red Tower which was built to keep out and watch for pirates! It was 5 stories high and each level had a different floor plan which made it confusing but also a lot of fun to get all the way to the top. Once at the top there was a beautiful view of Alanya and the sea. After Red Tower we were graciously taken to an ice cream shop that had been in Alanya since 1941 and made all natural ice cream that was delicious. The owner was awesome too as many students went back to get seconds and he gave it to them for free! That evening we enjoyed yet another wonderful time in the pool here and eventually headed to bed. Today the governer came to visit the camp here so there were lots of reporters and news cameras which was kind of fun! After he left our American team was asked to teach english and computers to the kids. Anwar, C.J. and myself taught the children words such as the days of the week, who, what, where, when, why as well as airport, ticket, car, plane, etc. while the rest of the group demonstrated word and the internet on the computers we installed. Now we have just finished lunch and I will be on my way to Antalya!
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Yay! [11 Jul 2006|06:43pm]
Hello all!
This is Nikki in Iznik. We (Luke, Leesa, Mary Mills and myself) are having a great time here. We arrived yesterday, to find the lab well on it's way, thanks to the efforts of Jeff, Becky, Chris, and Linnea. We had a few wiring problems and internet to take care of, but our hosts have been very gracious and have rushed to get us everything we need. We finished the lab mid-morning today, after spending an hour or so working to get the IP addresses set up on all the computers. Unfortunately, our internet connection is only for 24 hours, so our success is short-lived, at least until they get an electrician out here. Tomorrow morning we will begin teaching the kids, who were very excited about coming into the lab today (they have been kept out of it for the most part until now). We are a little anxious about beginning teaching tomorrow, but with luck it will go well. We spent our afternoon walking around the town, which is very gorgeous. The city is built among the ancient ruins, and we visited a museum which had tons of pottery and stone carvings which were uncovered when they excavated buildings in the town. We also browsed the local tile shops (Iznik is known for its traditional tile, which is very beautiful), and had a great time talking to the shopkeepers, who showed us how to check for damaged tile, and where the various patterns were from. We have another campfire at the camp tonight, and no doubt the kids will ask for Luke to juggle again. They are all very impressed with his juggling and yo-yo skills, and many want to try his yo-yo after watching him. We are looking forward to a great few more days before the camp ends on Friday, and we leave for ALanya.
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Connection reestablished [11 Jul 2006|02:08pm]
Hello everyone! David Harwood here, sitting in an Internt cafe in Şanliurfa (I think I spelled that right). Sorry that I haven`t put anything here in a few days, but it has been difficult to procure an Internet connection.
Brief Urfa crew synopsis: after the Alanya crew left, and the Bursa crew went shoppıng, the four of us going to Urfa (Jacob Reynolds, Jacob Smith, Nils, and myself) spent time at the guesthouse going over packing and planning. Following all of the mad rushing around to get evrything done, we left for the bus terminal, for our 18-hour bus ride. Once we arrived on Sunday, we were pıcked up and taken to the camp where we would be working for the next week. It is much hotter here than ın Osmangazi, and much dryer than ın Bursa, but we work wıth ıt. We dıdn`t do much for the rest of the day besides look over the lab-to-be, go over what would have to be done, and just work wıth the staff to fıgure out what they wanted. We also found the time in the day to go see a few of the ruins ın the area. They are incredible. Pıctures have to be seen once we get home, or get them to Andy, whichever is easier.
Yesterday, we were mostly sıttıng around all day, sınce we don`t have adequate power, an Internet connection, or any tables to put the computers on. We did run cables yesterday, but that`s about all we can do right now, I thınk. Today has been mostly a repeat of yesterday. I have a brief Internet connectıon wıth the tıme due to run out soon, but that`s about all that`s changed. We have managed to get an electrıcıan in, but the power situation hasn`t changed.
Well, so much for brief. In any case, the camp that we are stayıng at ıs very dry. Actually, I suppose that could descrıbe the entıre area. We haven`t had much interaction with the kids, other than a football (soccer) game last night and a brıef interrigatıon session where we heard the same questions given to us many times over. On the other hand, it was great for Jacob Reynolds and Nils, sınce they seem to be bent on learnıng Turkısh as quıckly as they can. At this rate, they`re goıng to easily surpass Nikkı for how much Turkısh is known.
We have been sleeping a government guesthouse at night, complete with very powerful air conditioning. That has made things much easier at night.
Well, I think I`m about out of things to say. I`m glad that someone from Alanya updated the other day, it`s nıce to know that they are doing fine. One final note: due to the way Turkısh keyboards are set up, it is very easy to put ı instead of i, so just assume that the ı`s I miss are i`s for the purposes of thıs blog.
Until next time, remember that the steep stairs in the cooler tunnel may actually make you hotter than the warmer stairs on the side of the hill.
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Team in Alanya [09 Jul 2006|06:20pm]
This is a post from the team in Alanya (Chris, John, Jeff, Anwar, Mary S., C.J., Carl and myself). Wow, it is amazing here! The camp is right on the Mediterranean Sea and is part of a hotel that has a pool, tennis court, volley ball and real bathrooms! The only downside is we didnt realize how touristy it would be down here with crowded beaches and expensive stuff. Although the camp is a good 30 min drive out of the city it is still a bummer. But no one can complain about 100+ degree weather and sandy beaches!
The drive down was long and took about 12 hours total. Once down here we set up our stuff in our tents, ate a very good Turkish dinner and walked around the beach at the camp. Since the kids arent arriving until monday we were able to get a good night sleep without music blasting from about 8pm - 11pm and 6am - 8am (the kids would have a dance every night to loud techno music and then be woken up by the same music and do exercızes). Then today we woke up at 9am to have breakfast at the camp and then headed directly to Alanya to go to the beach which was amazingly beautiful with sandy beaches and clear blue water. We hung out there for a bit to go swimming and lay on the beach and then went to one of our Turkish friends apartment here for a wonderful Turkish lunch, which was eaten on the floor like traditional meals here. And I have to mention that on the way to the apartment John and I went to go take a picture of a camel that was on the side of the rode and ended up being able to ride it for a few minutes! It was very hard at first but once you got used to it, it was acctually kind of comfertable!
After lunch we headed back to the beach and now I am currently in an internet cafe in Alanya. So far being here has been awesome. We will now work EXTRA hard on the computer lab so we can have more free time to hang out on the beach and with the campers!
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To new locations! [08 Jul 2006|02:27am]
David Harwood once again, but this time, I’m back at the guesthouse, along with everyone else. Tomorrow (well, later today, technically, since it’s about 12:45am) I leave for Urfa. I have it better than the group leaving for Alanya, which leaves in just over five hours, since I get to leave in the afternoon.
Well, today, especially this morning, was kind of busy in Osmangazi. Since we now had the hub, we could run cables to the hub. Unfortunately, there were a few problems, the most serious being the power issue (fortunately, the hubs took very little power), the next most serious being our inability to get the Internet to connect to and through the hub. After numerous ideas, retries, and even a trip to see the modem supplying the connection to the entire camp, we finally found the problem: the cord supplying the Internet connection wasn’t plugged in to the uplink port, so the connection was not being spread. A quick change, and everything was good. We got a few computers plugged in and running, so that should hopefully suffice for the moment.
After we had worked for a while, Mr. Rye, Luke, John, and Ben came into the room. They pretty much came to make many changes, give us the tubs we were using to pack in, and hand me my malaria pills (which threw me for a loop), and then they left.
We packed, ate lunch, and just sat around for a while. We were in the middle of this sitting around when Mary suggested that we go out to explore the city. Everyone but Laura and myself went exploring, so there were just two of us when seven boys came in to see the computer lab as it stood.
It was incredible to see them actually be able to walk up to a computer, click on the icons, and use the Internet. Granted, the first thing they did was find games to play online (kids are kids the world over), but it was incredible to see the kids be able to use the computers that we have spent so long preparing, and I don’t know how much time everyone has put into this, but it was amazing.
Of course, this was also the time the boys used to say goodbye. It was really rather sad in the room while all the goodbyes were being said, but it had to be done. It wasn’t long after that that everyone who had been out got back. There was just a little bit more sitting around before the people from Iznik showed up. We all went outside to meet people, introduce the Iznik crew to some of the kids, and play a quick game of soccer, then went to eat.
Dinner had just ended when the van filled with the people from the guesthouse pulled up. The entire crew was finally back together. Greetings, stories, and descriptions of just how much work people had been doing. A team meeting took place, over which was discussed changes, how everything was going, etc. We took a team picture (which will hopefully end up online at some point), then went to the campfire event. Since everyone had to go back to the guesthouse for the night, people were called in two waves. Some people dropped off to sleep not long after arriving here, others, like me, are still up for whatever reason.
Plans for this weekend are as follows. All those leaving after two weeks go to Alanya tomorrow, leaving at six in the morning, then they will fly out from there at the end of the week. All those going to Urfa (all four of us) are leaving tomorrow at about three in the afternoon. Everyone staying in Bursa is going to spend this weekend not doing anything related to technology, by order of Mr. Rye himself, then they will go to their respective camps on Monday or Sunday (I’m not sure which)
Well, it’s getting really late. At this rate, I’m going to be back on Seattle time by next week. Until next time, remember that the giant air-conditioned buses are only for those who will be less than 50 miles from the Syrian border.
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humor keeps us alive through the stress [07 Jul 2006|09:59am]


artist's rendition of luke going crazy as we stay up late waiting for the computers to arrive

-andy
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So close... [07 Jul 2006|12:42am]
David Harwood here, still at Osmangazi, typing this up at about 12:30 in the morning. Sorry this is so late, but it’s been a very busy day.
As Nikki mentioned, we got computers all set up. Well, as much as we could, anyway. We still didn’t have the hub (actually, it arrived about half an hour ago), and we were still working out some kinks in the power. Other than that, today was mostly speant sitting around, reading, writing, playing with the kids, etc.
Nikki actually covered most of today’s events in her post. There are a few things to add, though. After Jacob and Leesa left for the guesthouse, the rest of us went back to work. There were still power cables to organize, network cables to run, and the room had to be cleaned somewhat. We had a deadline of 10 in the morning to get all of it done. It was, however, while Philip was connecting the power that the worst problem we have had yet was discovered.
Apparently, there is simply not enough power getting into this room. This is something completely out of our hands. There are electricians coming in tomorrow to do some work on the room for the second lab, but we hope we can get them to do something about this room too. Otherwise, we may not be able to finish this lab.
I don’t really want to end this post on such a downer, so I’ll do what I can to pull up some happy memories. Yesterday (by which I mean the fifth), Rachel, Nikki, Jacob, and CJ were squeezing lemons that they had gotten at the bazaar, in an attempt to make lemonade. They ended up with about two liters of lemon juice. When water and sugar were added, it became closer to five liters. It was also really sour, because there wasn’t enough sugar put in. It made for an interesting drink, though.
That’s about all I can come up with (not much, but it will do). Until next time, remember that if the circuit breaker says 6A, it means that it will trip AT 6A, not above.
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