Zaferullah Yildirim needed a usb stick to transfer some files from his uncle’s computer. The uncle gave him one of the several usb sticks left in the drawer for months or perhaps for years. When the 24 year old plugged in the usb stick on his computer at home, he, for the first time, saw more than 30 year old pictures of his grandfather who lived in Germany and only came back to Turkey to live his last remaining days after being diagnosed with cancer. Right at that moment, Zaferullah had an adventurous idea: recreating the memories of his grandfather whom he never met.
After graduation from a law school in Istanbul, Zaferullah has already wandered through 45 countries, mostly in Africa and Asia. So the 24 year old decided to make it to Germany by hitchhiking along with a friend. From Istanbul, through Bulgaria, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bosnia,Slovenia and Austria. More than 3 thousand kilometers in two weeks of time. “I had to trim my beard,” said Zaferullah while grabbing what is left on his sun-burnt otherwise pale face. “People thought we were refugees. They called the police on us. So I decided to trim my beard,” said the Turkish guy who is in no rush to take the bar exam to become lawyer.
He finally made it to Stuttgart to recreate the few photos his grandfather had taken. He found the exact locations of each photos by randomly asking people on the streets. And one by one, he gave the same pose. “It was very emotional to know that he was here once, he had good or bad memories here,” he said.
In one of the pictures, there was a small puddle on the ground. So Zaferullah brought a few litters of water with him to recreate the perfect shot. “I was shocked when I get to the location. By Coincidence, There was a puddle right at the same spot when I got there. So it was one of the most interesting moments of this trip,” he uttered while trying to prevent himself from not bursting into tears.
Zaferullah’s trip drew a lot of reaction after it was tweeted by the most famous diaspora twitter account. Then the story was picked up by onedio, the famous content-driven social network. He was even contacted by the German media. “WDR has called us as well. They want to interview us but I am not sure if I want to give them an interview,” Zaferullah said. The Turkish guy thinks what German media all wants is to get into politics at one point of the interview and would want to get some anti-Turkey remarks out of his story