Nearly 50 primary school students in Turkey's northern Karabük province wrote a letter to 3-year-old Ayda Gezgin, who was rescued from debris 91 hours after a devastating 6.6 magnitude earthquake hit the western province of Izmir on Oct. 30.
One of the letters published by Anadolu Agency (AA) was from third grader Zeynep Yavuz. "Hello Ayda, my little sister. I live in Karabük. I will call you my little sister. Because you are now my sister. I watched the earthquake on TV, and I was very scared. You were there for four days. How did you endure it? How did you endure being hungry and thirsty? I really can't believe it. I hope you recover quickly. I would like to visit you, give you a hug and play games. Sisters always read fairy tales to their younger siblings. I would also like to read you your favorite, most beautiful tale. You are really brave. Now that I am your sister, I would love to be there for you whenever you need me," she wrote, concluding with: "Sending kisses for your beautiful cheeks," as quoted by AA.
‘You now have an older brother in Karabük’
Another heartfelt letter was penned by fourth grader Bekir Talha Öter: "The purpose of me writing this letter is to share my thoughts with you since I cannot speak with you face to face. Ayla, my beautiful little sister, it was not easy to wait and hope while we waited for your rescue. Thinking about the pain your tiny body suffered opened up a void in my heart that I can’t describe and maybe never could. But let’s not talk about the bad things. We can talk about good things. Because really beautiful days are ahead of you. Now you are not alone, and now the whole of Turkey is your huge family. You were our hope. So I am so glad to know you, my sweet sister. Now you have another brother. We are always with you. You have an older brother in Karabük, don't forget that.”
‘Embrace our big-hearted children’
Karabük Provincial National Education Director Nevzat Akbaş told AA that the letters will bridge hearts of all ages across the country. He also pointed out that the letters reveal the students' sensitivity regarding the tragedy caused by earthquakes
Expressing his appreciation for the children's thoughtful compositions, the education director said: "The sentiments of our students both touched us and made us proud. I embrace our big-hearted children. I would like to thank the teachers who taught the students the traits that make us who we are."
All of the letters from students have been sent by post to Gezgin's family.