A Day of Fasting

Friday July 3rd

Today I decided to try fasting for a day for the cultural experience of Ramadan. I woke up in the morning and FaceTimed a friend, got ready, and headed to work. It was actually nice not having to worry about eating breakfast in the morning. I spent the first few hours preparing more petri dishes for the RLN extraction processes. Then I went to the greenhouse where there were many wheat plants that needed to be scored for crown rot prevalence. Ekrem Abhi, Sevil Hanim, and I stripped the stem of the wheat plants while Gul Abla scored. The browning of the root is rated one through five (one being the most resistant to Fusarium and five being the most susceptible). The germplasms being scored were local but CIMMYT Turkey looks into germplasms from around the world as well.

A few weeks ago many students from the local universities became interns at CIMMYT. They have a rotational system so each lab get two interns for a week. Apparently word got out among the interns that I am from America and speak English, so I get a few visits a day from different interns. I try to speak in Turkish with them and they practice their English with me. Often we resort to google translate as the conversation gets past basic introduction. Today during the lunch break I planned to get some rest in my room because I wasn’t eating. On my way, I ran into two of the interns and hung out with them for the rest of the lunch break. They weren’t fasting for Ramadan and couldn’t fathom why I would want to try fasting. We continued to take selfies and had a nice conversation. Selfies are a big deal in Turkey, there are so many clothing stores with shirts that say “selfie” on them. I have found it very interesting that the teens here wear shirts with English logos when they don’t understand the language.

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After lunch I continued to work in the greenhouse. I picked up a few more Turkish words. I don’t know what it is about the people in Turkey but many of them have contagious happiness. We laughed and talked our way through the tedious process. Around 6:40 we called it a day. I quickly headed back to my room and called in to an NHS officers meeting and got caught up on the progress of the senior service project. Finally it was 8:30 and I could eat. Luckily I didn’t get too thirsty or hungry throughout the day but I was exceptionally sleepy. I joined Ümit Bay and his family for a wonderful iftar and went to bed just before 10:00.

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