American students repair village school in İnegöl

Fifteen American students spent their holiday in İnegöl.

July 18, 2008, Friday/ 19:18:00
A group of American students who traveled to a village in Bursa’s İnegöl district as part of a volunteer program have performed repairs on the village’s primary school to make it ready for the upcoming school year.Experiment in International Living (EIL) Turkey representative Emine Gökkaya said many other American students had visited different villages in İnegöl in previous years, adding that Canadian students had stayed in Deydinler village, where the American group is now staying, on two different occasions. The EIL was founded in the US but is now an international program that offers high school students the chance to experience life in another country by staying with a host family and engaging in service or learning projects. According to the EIL Web site, its mission is to “to foster peace through understanding, communication, and cooperation.”

Gökkaya noted that the first group of students to stay in Deydinler had fixed the Turkish bath in the village, adding that the second group had built a park. Gökkaya said groups of 15 students from the ages of 16-19 and two teachers come during the projects and stay in a village for two weeks. He noted that the current group of American students is doing maintenance projects on the local primary school.

“The villagers are hosting the students in their homes. Every student stays with a different family. They eat what the villagers eat and they are also working with the villagers in their fields. During our two-week Bursa visit the students will also be able to see the historical and natural beauties of Bursa,” he noted.

Blerta Lumani, the leader of the American group, who is of Macedonian descent and whose grandmother is a Turk, said they were very happy to be in Turkey. “The Turkish people are very warm and respectful. We liked Turkish cuisine. We especially liked İnegöl kofte, İskender kebab and gözleme. We have made similar visits to many other countries in the world; however, none of our hosts were so warm. We want to thank the residents of the village for their warmth and kindness,” said Lumani.

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