When I was in St. Petersburg my senior year of high school our hosts referred to the field trips we took as “excursions.” This cracked me up. I don’t know why I found it so hilarious, but I had never heard that term used before. In MS, they are just plain ol’ field trips. So because of that, I always think of anything slightly educational as “excursions” now.
Last weekend (Sept 25) we took an excursion to a nearby province…or county. I’m not sure what they call the governmental areas here. I had been hesitant to go. I still didn’t know many people in my class, I didn’t know the teacher taking us and Sunday is the only day the kids have off really. I thought we would return mid-afternoon, but it ended up being about 7 pm. Despite all that, I am really glad that I went. I learned a lot about the governmental challenges and struggles. Also, we were able to visit a Roman ruin, a city from the Ottoman era under restoration and eat lunch (or L-upper) in a home of a friend of our guide.
To get all this done in one day, we had to be up REALLY early. Our caravan left at 7:30 from the city center, which meant that on my 1 day to sleep in I had to be up at 6:00 to head into town! Our first stop was the governmental offices and a powerpoint about what they are trying to do in their province. They are working a lot with education and trying to provide basic services.
Riding in the van was a good way to get a feel of the land. All those green dots you see are olive trees. We will be here during olive picking season and we are VERY excited. Olive trees are everywhere. Including down every street in the city and in most yards/gardens!
From there we went to a town from the Ottoman era that is being renovated. It was originally a Christian town. The town is being restored through international aid groups. After the restorations, the government can use the buildings for 20 years and then they will be returned to the original family owners.
A neat thing we learned was that the more ornate the door, the more wealthy the family was. The wealthiest family in town would be the tax collectors. This position passes down from father to son, but if a family fell out of favor with the government this honor (and very lucrative position!) could go to another.
We also were able to go on the roof of the governor’s house where you could see the entire area that he would have governed.
Along the top of the roof was a triangle structure that had holes in it. It served 2 purposes. 1) you could put water in the cups and the wind would make a very nice cooling system on a hot day. 2) You could peek through the holes and watch people and no one knew! Handy, huh?
We also went to an area of the city that had NOT been renovated. This showed how hard they have had to work to get it where it is now. It is just a jumble of rocks and leftovers from life in the past few centuries.
After this we went to the Roman ruin. It dates to between 60-45 BCE. There is some discrepency about its purpose. It was EITHER a mint for coins or a mauseleum (or the Roman version of it). Maybe both!
All in all it was a very productive day. I learned a lot more about the situation locally that I will not publish at this time, but if you are interested, I’d be glad to share my notes!