The rest of the week continued with similar activities as the first day in Yozgat. I helped with the crown rot quantification, labeled envelopes, and weighed the seeds from each plot. After we finished our work in Yozgat we traveled to Konya, a more southern and conservative city in Turkey. There were multiple mosques located very near each other so the city would erupt with loud songs at every prayer time.
There were field workers at the sites who helped gather the wheat stems and strip them for crown rot quantification. They also helped me sort and organize the seed bags before weighing them. Most of the workers in Konya were not from Turkey. One man was originally a high school teacher in Syria but was forced to leave because of the ongoing war. It was horrible to see a man of such high qualifications working in the hot sun all day for a very low wage. At home in America it is very easy to forget about the realities of the Middle East but here I can see its impacts much more directly.
Dr. Amer shared many words of wisdom with me during the travel and helped me draw my conclusion on whether the egg or chicken came first. He jokingly asked me the question one morning, to wake me up I guess, and I realized my view is that the chicken came first because it evolved from a different animal over thousands of years. Then it became the chicken we know today and had the first egg. I probably should have reached this conclusion years ago, but it felt like a victory to me that morning.
As for food, I had my best meal in Turkey on Tuesday night with Nedim Bay, the director of the Yozgat institute. However, there were also several occasions where it was exceptionally difficult to find vegetarian options that were nutritious. Due the Ramadan season, we couldn’t find any open restaurants in Konya during the day that served vegetarian food. Typically at this time of year all restaurants have a fixed menu filled with five or six dishes, all containing meat. I did find out that cherries are all the rage in Turkey. They have different varieties of cherries at every fruit stand, there is cherry juice served at every restaurant, and the hotels we stayed at offered cherry jam with bread in the morning. It is a good thing I love cherries!
My headache and weakness from the first night went away the next morning but came back by the evening. This repeated until Thursday but now I am feeling a lot better. I think it was mainly caused from dehydration. I returned to Eskisehir last night so as soon as I can get groceries, I will do some cooking 🙂
Overall the field experience was very interesting. I was grateful for the opportunity to get a more complete view of what is done at CIMMYT Turkey and for the time to get to know my mentors better.
p.s. I recently got a chance to upload an album on facebook so feel free to check it out for more pictures!