Is it really that close to Christmas? Hard to believe as it’s an unseasonal 21 degrees outside for a start!
But IWI – International Women of Istanbul – certainly knows it is fast approaching as yesterday was their major annual fundraiser and the theme is certainly Christmas complete with decorated trees, merry helpers wearing red aprons and Santa hats, carols and festive food! Not to mention the many attractive stalls where you can easily be persuaded to part with your pennies and do some Christmas shopping! It is a huge affair, meticulously organized, involving many members in months of planning, and raises millions for the many Turkish charities it supports.Traditionally it’s held in the Hilton Convention Centre, a most suitable venue as it is centrally located, very important in this huge city of ours, and large enough to comfortably accommodate the Food Court upstairs and the various stalls downstairs.
All the different nationalities try to outdo each other in terms of their speciality foods which you buy and enjoy for lunch with your friends, or through selling enticing items, many of a foodie nature that are not usually available here, and are specially brought in from their countries. All in all, it’s an occasion that everybody looks forward to. Not only hard work but fun too as it is very social : you see all your friends in one fell swoop.
This year I was one of the team selling tickets for the food and drink upstairs in the Food Court. After donning my purple top as our particular theme was purple, I left home at 5 to 8 in order to be sure of arriving at the Centre by 10. Traffic wasn’t too bad and I was there at 9.20. It’s a great occasion for everyone to work together and the spirit of community is unmistakable.