March 18, 2011
It was a bright spot in a very bleak day. We were struggling through the mountains in central-eastern Turkey. The roads were rough, the grades were steep, and the wind blew so hard you could lean into it and never fall over.
We met a couple of men at a roadside chai stop. They invited us up the hill and we soon discovered that they were teachers. We were introduced to their classroom full of Kurdish students, all dressed up in their bright blue-and-white school uniforms. As their teachers translated, the students asked us scores of questions about our travels.
Then it was time for them to sing for us. They lined up and struggled through a couple of short songs. Then one of the teachers singled out one of the girls and called her to the front of the room.
She opened her mouth and a voice mature beyond her age filled the room. I still get goose bumps listening to it.
The weather and the road were still bleak ... but that little girl's voice reminded us once again that the journey is always worth the effort.
Photos by Willie Weir
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS is posted every other Friday. Willie Weir is a columnist for Adventure Cyclist magazine. His books, Travels with Willie and Spokesongs, will inspire you to hit the road, and might change the way you approach bicycle travel. He lives in Seattle with his wife Kat. You can read about their adventures at http://yellowtentadventures.com.