Plenty of posts on this blog look back two or three thousand years to when Lelegians, Carians, Persians, Greeks or Romans were busy settling, raiding, overthrowing or abandoning this region of Bodrum. There are multiple ancient historical sources and a couple of centuries of archaeological reports to sift through, most of which are now accessible on line. A small post on one archaeological site can lead to hours and often days of fascinating research as one university paper leads to another. Unfortunately the same can not be said of the recent history of Bodrum, so I was extremely happy to sit in on a meeting of the Bodrum Oral History Group, who are trying to record the memories of Bodrum's oldest residents before their stories are lost for ever. The group are traveling to different villages and towns in and around the Bodrum peninsula, asking questions and prompting recollections, recording as they go. Their aim is to open a local museum where all the recordings will be indexed so that future generations will be able to visit, look up their forebears and listen to their stories on dvd or mp3. It's an ambitious and exciting project and I hope it bears fruit.
On Wednesday, the group's attention was focused on Mumcular and surrounding villages and I went along to listen first-hand to some of the stories. There was a lot of laughter, songs and a few tears as life without running water and electricity (which didn't arrive until 1974) was described. All the speakers had spent their early lives rising before dawn to plant and tend tobacco or herd goats and sheep, with beekeeping and carpet making as sidelines. At one time or another, the majority had also seen their yearly profits disappear in the hands of unscrupulous rogues who would make off without paying their dues. What came across in bucket loads while listening to the stories, is the great sense of humour these folk possess. It was a joy to witness.
|Yusuf Özkara giggling at the fact that nothing interesting happened in his 18 years as a night watchman.|
|Mustafa Bacaksız, nicknamed "Steel Uncle" - A musician and songwriter.|
|Organisers and participants in Mumcular's splendid meeting hall which doubles as a wedding venue.|