Traipsing about on a farm, learning how to milk sheep and bake bread while wearing an ankle-length skirt, wasn't part of the itinerary when my husband, Tom, and I began planning a trip to Turkey. But when I found Nomad Tours Turkey on the Web while doing some research, I knew a homestay in rural Turkish Kurdistan would end up being the highlight of our trip.
When Alison and Omer Tanik moved from Istanbul to his home village in Yuvacali, near the Syrian border, they began looking for a project that might help improve the lives of the 700 or so residents, mainly subsistence farmers with an average income of $1 per day. Alison had launched a project for the local women to sell their handicrafts to a boutique in Istanbul, when an acquaintance from Australia's Intrepid Tours asked about the possibility of homestays in the area. She suggested Yuvacali, and Nomad Tours was born. We spent a memorable day and night with the Salva family, Halil, above and Pero, below, shown baking bread over the open hearth where she does all the family's cooking.
Read more about it in a story that appears today in The Seattle Times, and click here to see my blog posts and photos on the two weeks we spent this spring exploring southeastern Turkey.