Memory #3: First Adventure in Istanbul

(IN)VISIBLE CITIES Istanbul on Vimeo on Demand

This week marks the release of (IN)VISIBLE CITIES Istanbul, the film on African migrants we have been working on for awhile. The documentary is available to rent on Vimeo on Demand. It’s the intimate journey of Beatrice into her African roots. To celebrate this achievement as best as we can, we are sharing the memories of that trip on Facebook and here. The following is Memory #3 and it is right in the spirit of Christmas.

First Adventure In Istanbul

So we finally made it to one of the most populated cities in the world, Istanbul. And before even stepping foot outside our first adventure present itself, or rather it was presented to Gianpaolo.


He goes to the ATM to withdraw few Turkish lira we’ll need for the trip and comes back to me with a bunch of notes of 50 TL each. I’m surprised and ask him what we’d need all that money for, and he says that’s a present he’s not accepting. He starts recounting that the guy before him at the machine did something with the machine and then left, as soon as he did the banknotes came out. Gianpaolo immediately went to the guy for giving him his money back but the guy did not understand English and maybe thought he was trying to scam him.

So here we are with almost 200 euros from a person who doesn’t want them back.
We try again, maybe he speaks French. He answers no to that a bit annoyed as well.

So a nice girl steps in and asks us if we need help, we tell her the story. She takes the money, go to the guy who by then was talking to the customer service of a money exchange, she tries very calmly to explain the issue and after being a bit puzzled the guy understood. He looks at us with no expression and little excitement and says the shyest “thank you” I have ever heard.
We left unsatisfied and concerned.

The guy has no idea how lucky he was, that could have been funding to add to already struggling (IN)VISIBLE CITIES cash box.

this blog post was initially posted on www.balobeshayi.com

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