Chapter One (continued)
She had never left her village. She looked down and let her gaze wander on the sleepy village sprawled at the foot of a chain of hills. Their village Ourfa was large and prosperous. It was divided into three major quarters. The Armenian quarter where her family and all their friends lived. It was nestled at the foot of the hill. The church was at its center. Each house was built around a courtyard surrounded by walls opening to the outside by a heavy iron door. A large fountain graced the center of their courtyard surrounded by a cobbled stone patio. A profusion of flowers grew at the foot of the wall: roses, Lantus, Calla lilies and jasmine vines climbed high and surrounded the house with the fragrant scent of their tiny white flowers. Near the kitchen wall Nana ( my grandmother) had planted thyme, parsley, rosemary and mint and not far from there a small vegetable garden was brimming with tomato, eggplant and zucchini plants.
Near the old “souk” was the poorer quarter were her friend Mariaml lived. It was the Assyrian Christian quarter. They spoke their own Aramaic language. Mariam was her childhood friend. They had their own church carved inside the rock forming the hill. Each Sunday, the monk’s chants reverberated inside the cavernous walls.
The third and largest quarter was the Turkish section. It was the most populated and richest section of the village. Narrowed paved streets separated rows and rows of tightly walled houses .
We were warned to never go there.
“They will kidnap you and you will never be seen again.” Nana would repeat over and over again. Almast never understood this vehemence. She had never heard of anybody being abducted or disappearing. They were god fearing people and the imam on the minaret of the large mosque called them to prayer many times a day.