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Culture 18

Nature and life in Turabdin

Turabdin has a hilly landscape with hot and dry summers and cold winters. It does not have many natural water resources. The main river is the Tigris, which borders Turabdin in the east and in the north. In addition, there are only a few small rivers with flowing water, including the Ṣawro River which flows into the Tigris, and the river "White Waters" (maye ḥewore ܡܰܝܶܐ ܚܶܘܳܪܶܐ) which flows through Nusaybin into Syria and continues to flow via the Khabur River and finally ends into the Euphrates.

Almost every village in Turabdin has a larger pond called rawmo ܪܰܘܡܐ, from which the cattle are watered.  Until the 1980s, women washed larger textiles by hand at the pond. In those days, the pond also served as a natural swimming pool for the village children and adolescents during the hot summer months.

Most of the houses had cisterns in which the rainwater was collected and used for daily consumption.  Traditionally people washed and bathed on Saturdays. To do so, the mothers had to heat the water on an open fire.  The drinking water was usually transported home from wells and springs in and outside the villages in clay jugs. At home, the drinking water was kept in large clay pots, which were placed at a central place in the house.

Nowadays almost all houses are connected to the sewage system, electricity and water supply and equipped with modern facilities in the bathroom and kitchen.  However, farmers are largely dependent on rainwater to irrigate their fields. Today there is little irrigation farming in Turabdin.

Two proverbs in Surayt that relate to nature are:

Xud i hawa kurre yo ܟ݂ܘܕ ܐܝ ܗܰܘܰܐ ܟܘܪܪܶܐ ܝܐ „He/she changes his/her opinion constantly“. The literal meaning of this saying is: „he / she is like the north wind“. It is characteristic of the north wind that it constantly changes its direction.

U gelo lo kofoyaš taḥt i kefo ܐܘ ܓܶܠܐ ܠܐ ܟܳܦܳܝܰܫ ܬܰܚܬ ܐܝ ܟܶܦܐ means „You can't keep anything secret forever“. Literally it means: „The grass doesn't stay under the stone“, meaning the grass will come out from under the stone at some point and the „truth will come to light“.