Travel Terms of Engagement
Back at The Arasta Bazaar, in the store By Moses, my friend Moses explained the terms of engagement. The new rules or Terms of Engagement By Moses made my life at the store much easier. Moses had thought about the situation.
Terms of Engagement By Moses
My friend Gurhan joined us for a chat. The three of us talked over tea. A lot of things were said in Turkish; I didn’t catch a word. Everyone was smiling.
His plan was critical for his shop to be successful. He had a big payment due, and it was important that we were a team so we could be more productive. Most businesses carry a loan and count on the holidays to pay off those debts. This motivated me to look for better solutions, so I could help my friend Moses pay off his loan. Moses made a plan, a way for us all to work together.
My advice was intended to make his customers comfortable in his shop, while not making Zeki uncomfortable. For the customers to be satisfied, things just had to be more fun and less serious.
Moses and Zeki had to sell, sell and sell.
Terms of Engagement By Moses
Moses felt that Zeki had been out of line. He had heard other bits of news because information gets around at a bazaar. Moses had been upset, more upset because of the gossip. Zeki thought that I had been talking about him. I hadn’t.
Moses felt things had changed since Ramadan. He said that he thought that every time there was a holiday, things changed a little with Zeki. He didn’t explain what that meant. But Zeki was getting less flexible and more conservative. Moses believed the comments that had been made to him about Zeki, based on his observation. He wanted the situation fixed, immediately. None of this is a big deal — it’s just ‘learning how to get along’ stuff. No one was the bad guy or all wrong. No one, including me, was blameless.
More Terms of Engagement By Moses
No matter how things change, nothing changes. We just carried on. Back to people-watching in the Arasta Bazaar. I realized that one often sees strange things in public, like people picking their noses, scratching private parts, selfie sticks that make people walk into things. People just don’t pay attention. Then the Zombie walked straight toward us!
A Zombie popped right out of nowhere — I showed Zeki the arrival of the Zombie. Zeki laughed, and this seemed to break the ice. Laughing always helps.
We posed with customers like always. Things were very relaxed. Things were happy again.
The little boy was back
When I left, I found the same little boy sleeping on the street. This time, I almost tripped over the boy at the bazaar entrance. A Spanish woman came up and talked to me, offering support. A Turkish man translated for us. The boy told us he was Turkish, not Syrian, and his mother left him here at night now instead of during the day. I began calling him “Turkish Boy” once I found out his nationality.
The police confirmed his identity.
He kept his small limited belongings in a waist bank that looked like a passport holder that tourist use.
For Street Kids, What Terms of Engagement By Moses?
I asked Moses, why this kid was back on the street and he told me that poor Turkish people put their kids on the street. These aren’t Syrian children, but Turkish kids. He told me to ignore the street kids, it’s just the way it is and has been. But I didn’t listen.
When the little boy showed up on the street again, I told him that if he comes here again, I would have to take him back to the USA with me. He could go to school there. He wasn’t happy about that idea.
We took Turkish Boy to the tourist police station so they could find his mother, one more time. The police took the boy’s money. He was sent off to who knows where. There are no laws in Turkey that prevent parents from leaving their children on the street to beg. To me, it’s child endangerment. It’s certainly not good for the little boy or good for business in the Sultanahmet–Old City of Istanbul.
Something to consider when I am traveling is that when I interfere, I might make things worse. I may have made the consequences at home for Turkish Boy worse than those on the streets. Last time, he had gone home with no money or begging container. We noticed that this time, instead of his begging container, he had only a plastic bag to use.
Where would I find Turkish Boy next?
The police then gave me a warning. Words all travelers might be wise to consider. They said to be careful. Don’t give money to beggars. Begging is a business and when you donate you have no idea where your money goes. Helping Turkish Boy off the street in Sultanahmet was relatively safe, but in other areas of Istanbul, I could get hurt. Interfering can cause harm.
It never dawned on me. They were right, I could get hurt. My comfortableness wasn’t helping.
The Turkish police said, “The terms of engagement are this — bring Turkish Boy here when you find him. Don’t do this anywhere other than Sultanhamet. You will get hurt.”
Does Turkish Boy have a name? The police said, “He won’t tell us.”
I hear ya! Got it.
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