The Middle East, as you may be aware, has some amazing food. I’ll admit, I get sick of eating the same thing over and over, and right now, I pretty much can’t eat anymore felafel and hummus. But I have had some truly wonderful meals here, and most of them have been in someone’s home, in a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, or even cooked out in a field. But if all else fails, there is really nothing quite like a bowl of fresh figs, ripe to bursting, still hot from the sun hitting the tree in a village in western Turkey.
Anyone who’s lived in #Turkey knows it’s really the friendly street #dogs who run the show – humans are just lucky enough to share the city with them. This #moped driver swerves around a pup who just can’t get up from his nap on one of the tiny streets of #Alacati, near #Cesme on the #Aegean coast. #grammasters3 #netflix #travel #adventure #everydayturkey #turkiye
Fall camping with friends in Karagol, near Izmir, Turkey. Oldie but goodie – missing that mushroom and sucuk breakfast.
Ok so I selected this #2015bestnine myself. Some actually were my “most liked” but this is pretty representative of a crazy, challenging year. Living in two different countries, documenting the industrial war complex, getting #engaged… Here’s to a new year in #Amman. #jordan #turkey #cairo #travel #airports #camels #neverhome #vsco
Before I left Turkey, I went and spent a night in Alacati, a village on the Aegean coast. Sleepy and empty during the winter, the town still looks like it’s meant to be one big postcard.
Cute doors in my hood. Last day in #turkey for a while. #doorsofturkey #bicycle
Fun day of cooking Black Sea dishes in Urla, Turkey.
Today, I spent the day working out of the eastern desert of Jordan, photographing farmers for a story about climate change. I saw the Azraq refugee camp for the first time. It is a city, and they are only operating at 10% of their allocated land right now. Before the war, 12,000 people total lived in this region. Now, there are at least 600,000 registered refugees there. Before the war, illegal pumping already damaged the supply and quality of the water there. This is not some far-off problem in the future; this is the reality of climate change and conflict, right now.
Back in Izmir, a friend shared this with me: “I just spent the afternoon talking with a Syrian couple who are going out on a boat to Greece tonight. My heart is broken. When asked why not go by land, they said in Romania and Bulgaria, the risk of running into organ harvesters is too great. I watched her fold everything carefully into a heavy plastic bag to put into her backpack. Mostly gifts, an antique glass, two stuffed toys, cans of Adidas cologne, two life jackets. The life jackets hit me like a knife. Every store in the area is selling life jackets. People set up on the street corners selling life jackets. Once they find a smuggler, they sleep in the park because they don’t know what time they will go. There is no official aid. Everything is black market. I was struck by how everyone there is waiting for their fate."
Sharing because this is bigger than we can really imagine, and bearing witness to these details is one way to make it human again. Lately I feel torn between distracting myself with work and just wanting to sob. The strange thing about witnessing other people’s trauma is you don’t have any physical evidence. I have nothing to hold up and say, “look, this is why I feel like I’m completely coming to pieces.”
Hundreds participated in a march in Izmir, Turkey to commemorate International Women’s Day on March 8, 2015. Photos by Lindsey Leger
This is a local tradition in Turkey that I rather like- when someone dies, the family (or supporters) set up a stand and hand out sweets to passersby, and you’re supposed to say a prayer for them. This was in memory of Özgecan Aslan, a girl who was murdered last week when she resisted rape while riding home on the bus. Her death has sparked protests in Istanbul and Ankara by women’s rights groups.