A letter we published on Tuesday, 5 January from a North Cyprus foreign resident Olga Campbell-Thomson complaining about the “filthy conditions” she was forced to quarantine in a Lefkoşa hostel generated lots of debate about government-approved quarantine centres, and an outpouring of sympathy for her.
One T-VINE reader in the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC), retired teacher Hatice Kerimgil, took it upon herself to try and help. She contacted people in the TRNC Health Ministry to draw attention to Olga’s situation and ask if she could be moved.
After learning of the poor conditions in Olga’s room at Nagaş Palace Student Dormitory, where ‘pillows, blankets, curtains, air are permeated with foul stench [of cigarette smoke]” and “someone’s unfinished tea” were found in the room, the Ministry agreed this was not up to acceptable standards for those in quarantine and decided to transfer Olga to another accommodation centre.
Two days after Olga’s letter was published, the university lecturer was given a pleasant surprise, which she shared with us:
“I was rather surprised yesterday afternoon when I was suddenly asked by my guards in Nagaş to pack and prepare to move. I was indeed collected and brought into the hotel Güneș [Rezidans]. I did not know whom to thank for this change of fortune,” wrote Olga.
“Thank you very much for this miraculous interference, I am eternally grateful to you [T-VINE editor Ipek Ozerim], to the teacher who interfered on my behalf and to everybody else who made this move possible,” added Olga.
She contrasted her stay at the “smoking den in Nicosia” with Güneș Rezidans, which was “pristinely clean” and a “peaceful luxury accommodation”, calling the move a “fairy-tale”.
Olga also asked to be put in touch with Ms Kerimgil to thank her directly for her kind-hearted intervention.
“I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kindness, your concern and your effort that helped me escape undignified conditions in the place where I was put upon arrival in Northern Cyprus,” said Olga.
“I am very touched by the support and warmth of people here. This is the Cyprus I know. I understand how difficult it is to cope with the current situation. And I am genuinely touched by the show of kindness extended by you and others at the times that are very difficult for all of us,” she continued.
We at T-VINE are delighted there was a happy ending to this story – a little bit of kindness goes a long way!
Image, top, user5679684 / Freepik