“Happy days” were definitely here recently when the 3C’s took 15 youngsters from the Fethiye “Love Homes” on their first ever boat trip. In fact it was one of the happiest days ever since the 3C’s started up their children’s charity.

All Aboard

The Love Homes are a new Muğla initiative which provides” provide a loving, caring and permanent home environment for small groups of orphans or children whose parents are in prison or are unable to take care of them

The 15 older boys and girls from the Fethiye “Love Houses” were so excited that they hardly slept the night before. We had arranged to meet at the day boat “Happy Days” in Fethiye harbour at 10.30 am but at 9.30 am we received a phone call to say that the youngsters were down at the harbour waiting to board!

We quickly loaded the car with trays of carton juices, big bottles of coke, lemonade, water, crisps and sweets, all bought for the children from pocket money generously donated by two young British girl holidaymakers.

We arrived at the boat and met up with the youngsters, their house “mothers”, 2 teachers, Dilek Dincer, Director of FETAV, and her assistant Kadriye Çaycı, and 8 other members of the 3C’s committee.

Shipmates

Prior to the boat trip we had been advised that “Happy Days”, which takes a maximum of 40 people would be an ideal size boat for the children, who are all aged between 8 and 15, as they had never been on a boat trip before and we did not know if they were able to swim or not.

We had discussed the route with the Captain who advised that rather than the long and tiring trip to the 12 Islands with the usual crowded and deep swim stops, that it would be far better to sail across to Red Island where the boat could moor up in the shallow water and the children could swim safely and even go ashore and chase the rabbits.

He then proposed that we sail back to Sovaliye Island where the boat could moor up at the jetty and the youngsters could either swim or explore the island.

Rations

We cannot thank the Captain and crew enough for their help in planning the day and their diligence in watching out for the safety of the children both on the boat and in the water at all times.

The children could not believe that they were going to be on the boat all day or that they were going to eat their lunch on the boat – “are we really going to do that?” they asked us in awe.

We would love to show pictures of the youngsters but unfortunately, and understandably, we have to respect the privacy of these youngsters, so we were unable to take any photographs of them to publish, although one of the teachers did take lots of photos for the children’s own personal “memory boards” which are in their bedrooms. However we hope that the following words can conjure up a few pictures of the youngsters enjoying themselves.

Aaarrrhhhhh

Imagine a line of excited youngsters sitting at the front of the boat, legs hanging over the side as the boat slowly leaves Fethiye harbour, their excited chatter as they watch the other boats going out around them as if in convoy, their first glimpses of Letoonia and Sovaliye island and then their shrieks of delight as they spot the famous Fethiye “Pirate ship” which just “had to be Jack Sparrows”, as we round the headland, this quickly followed by a brief lull in chatter as the boat starts to rock as we hit choppier waters and they grip the handrail harder all the way to Red Island.

Safety moored in the bay at Red Island, imagine the trepidation of one little girl complete with Disney arm bands and goggles as she walks down the gang plank into the sea for the first time.

In the end we had to carry her to the shallows where after just 15 minutes she was swimming like a fish and she and a friend were bobbing for stones and shells on the bottom. By the end of the day she was jumping in off the steps on the side of the boat! She still had her arm bands on but bets are she will be swimming without them quite soon.

Brave

Imagine two lads of around 14 who decide that fishing is more their thing than swimming and the look of delight on their faces as they catch their first fish. After that they spend the whole day fishing off the front of the boat, with just a quick break for lunch. By the end of the day they had caught 50-60 small fish between them which they insisted would be that night’s dinner for them and their newfound brothers and mothers back at their love home – and it was!

Imagine the older boys who couldn’t wait for the boat to stop so that they could jump off the side and into the sea, they would probably have still been out there jumping and swimming at midnight, if it hadn’t been time to return home.

Imagine the bigger kids (namely the male members of the 3C’s) taking on the youngsters at ball games in the sea – it was really difficult to tell who the grownups were!

Pieces of Eight

It was a really lovely day; the youngsters were delightful, polite and really well mannered. That’s not to say we did not have horseplay – after all they are kids – we had many a woggle and water fight with lots of soakings but it was all really good fun and good natured and, when we returned to Fethiye and disembarked, all of the children came up to all of the 3C’s members and either shook their hand or kissed them on the cheeks and said thank you for their lovely day.

We at the 3C’s are sure that the youngsters will remember today for a long, long time, as will we, as it was a real pleasure to be with them. We have now decided that we will make this an annual boat trip for the youngsters and hopefully next year the younger children at the Ciftlik love homes will also be old enough to join us.

More Crew

Finally continuing the ‘feel good factor’ during the trip we heard the really good news that two of the girls at the girls love house in Fethiye have been officially adopted by a Fethiye family so that is a really happy ending for them. Three new girls will be arriving shortly from Mugla and will be moving into the love home to complete the family unit.

Thanks to everyone who helped to make this special day for these lovely youngsters possible

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