Guest post by Sarah (second from left in feature picture), one of the young people who went from the UK to Istanbul. Sarah actually lives in Kenilworth, just outside Birmingham, and has been involved with The Feast for few years.
What an experience!
It’s been an experience that I will never forget. We all had loads of fun getting to know each other and experiencing Turkish culture together. Seeing some of the sights were an adventure in themselves – particularly the Grand Bazaar which is a VERY different shopping experience to what you would expect in England. Having to barter for stuff was a novel concept to me!
My first impression of the Lebanese was ‘wow, they’re crazy’ and that impression didn’t change throughout the week. They were always full of energy – chanting, singing, dancing and particularly shopping was the norm. Yet they definitely opened my eyes to a completely different culture. I learned a lot about what life was like in Lebanon, with war as a constant threat, it proved completely different to the British culture I’m used to.
The impact of religion on the Lebanese political system is huge and so talking about faith very rarely occurs there. Yet by the end of the week, we had discussed aspects of both Christianity and Islam peacefully. Through them I learned about what life was like for a Lebanese Christian and a Lebanese Muslim and the significant divide between Christians and Muslims in Lebanon.
I have left Turkey with a much more open mind having learned more about Islam, Christianity, Lebanon and Turkey. I have also begun to appreciate the comparative peace we have between Christians and Muslims in Britain a lot more after hearing about the huge conflict they have in Lebanon.
An amazing trip which has hugely opened my mind.