By Margaret Sheard….
Video by Chris Elliott…
We recently met up with Art Watson of the Esentepe Fun, Run and Ramble Committee to hear his exciting news of a new project being undertaken for the Ziyamet Special Needs School in the Karpaz area.
The Committee have been interested in helping this School for some time and for the last EFRAR event they invited some of the children to come to Esentepe to take part and join in the fun of the day. This prompted the undertaking of an immense project to provide the school with an outside children’s play area and this mammoth task is forging ahead with a nature walk to be held in the Kumyalı area on Sunday 18th October 2015.
The walk will be sponsored by Creditwest Bank and the various organisations having an input are the EFRAR Committee (Art and Mary Watson, Sue Steel, Ivor Moon, Brian Hills), The Little Society of Kyrenia (John Graham), Civil Emergency Services Volunteers (CESV) (Steve Collard), Cemil Sarıçizmeli – Mayor of Mehmetçik Belediyesi and Zekai and Kader Altan of the Nitovikla Garden Hotel in Ziyamet and of course Adem Adem who is associated with both Little Society of Kyrenia and CESV and will be the man on the spot as the local organiser/coordinator for the vast amount of arrangements which need to be made to ensure the nature walk runs smoothly and successfully.
There are a lot of arrangements to be made such as mini-buses or coaches from other areas of the Karpaz to bring people to the area, the creation of a car park for around 100 cars which will be undertaken by Mehmetçik Belediyesi, arranging stalls with food and drinks and local produce and handicrafts, CESV will be arranging for some of their members to be on hand in the event of first aid requirements and they will be present along the 16km route. The walk will be well signposted with route markers along the way.
The Kumyalı Nature Walk will be 8km through the lovely countryside with some stunning views. Registration will be at 9am on the day and the fee will be 20TL per person or 50TL for families of 4. Children under the age of 10 years will be free. Fund-raising will be under the umbrella of CESV, which is a registered charity.
It is hoped that this will become an annual event and attract clubs and individual walkers who have a love of the countryside and rural life of North Cyprus.
In addition to the nature walk there will also be a fundraising event at Stevie’s Restaurant and Bar in Esentepe on 24th September and all proceeds will be donated to this project.
While in the area we accompanied Art and Adem to the Nitovikla Garden Hotel which is run by Zekai and Kader Altan who are making the hotel eco-friendly and they grow all their own produce organically. The hotel has 8 rooms available for letting and they will be pleased to accommodate any of the walkers who may feel they would like to stay in the area a little longer.
This is a very interesting property, built in 2007. Zekai was aware of a cave nearby and on looking closer at a large fig tree he found the entrance, excavated it and now it is a huge cavern where seminars and meetings are sometimes held. It was very cool in the cave so a nice location in the hot summer months. We went over to the hotel, past a very welcoming pool, and looked at the vacant en-suite rooms which were very nicely furnished, some with very old traditional four-poster beds and furniture. There is an additional communal indoor area with a bar and seating in what almost felt like a cave, very traditional and cosy.
We then went to the restaurant area where there are inside and outside dining areas and this building was originally the Priest’s house, Kader thought it was about 450 years old and looking at the rooms inside it is a very interesting house with traditional furniture, and a modern very large kitchen area. I spotted an old wedding dress displayed in one of the rooms and was told this was hand-made in 1959, very pretty with lots of lace which must have taken ages to complete.
This is a lovely hotel in the centre of the village and I would think an excellent place to stay.
From there we travelled to the Ziyamet Special Needs School and met Cansev Benar who is the Head of both the Primary and Special Needs schools, and the Headmaster Yakup Metin. There are also 2 teachers who attend the Special Needs School – Baki Kog and Zekeriya Yorulmaz.
The building was originally a house and was used for accommodation for teachers working in the area and 4 years ago it was decided to use the property for a much needed Special Needs School for the area of the Karpaz. There has been a lot of work carried out to make the building a special place for the children and Ruth Pollard, who took part in the Turkish Marathon in 2014, raising funds for the school through sponsorship, organised the decoration for each of the rooms, which are beautifully designed.
The school operates from 8.30am to 12 noon and the children are brought from other areas by their parents or in specially arranged buses. There is a nicely furnished room where the parents can sit while their children are having their lessons. Cansev told us that there is one pupil from Ziyamet who attends the school for one hour twice a week and the rest of the time he attends his local Primary School as do the children from other villages except for those who are too severely handicapped and have to stay at home.
There were no special needs children at the school when we visited, but 4 children from the local Primary School were brought over to demonstrate the facilities available for the children and they took great delight in showing us some of the play equipment in one of the 2 classrooms.
The school is situated in the ground floor area of the house but there is also an upper floor which is not currently used, so there is scope to expand if there is ever a need and of course sufficient funds.
We were shown the outside area of garden where the intended playground is to be situated, which will have purpose-built flooring and specially adapted play equipment to suit the varying types of disability. Art said it is estimated this will cost in the region of 20,000TL.
There is a definite need for this type of establishment and it would be wonderful if there were enough funds to run the school as a full time education facility to help these less fortunate children. Maybe something to hope for in the future.
Our last port of call was to see the Mayor of Mehmetçik – Cemil Sarıçizmeli. A very forward thinking man who has spent time in the UK and USA and is passionate about promoting the Karpaz area and especially the villages. He is a very busy man, being responsible for 4 villages, and he had hurried back from a meeting in order to meet us. He is very excited about the forthcoming Kumyalı Nature Walk and readers can hear what he said in the video at the end of this article.
We were told that the Mayor is currently looking at a project for major re-cycling in the area and this is something which now seems to be recognised in many parts of the island as a very important aspect for the environment and tourism. We wish Mehmetçik Belediyesi every success with this project.
So we had come to the end of a very tiring but very interesting day and travelled back to Girne with our heads buzzing from all that we had seen and heard.