As I was teaching tonight, I saw one of my students got a text message that he looked at and got fidgety. We only had a few minutes until tea break, so I just broke early. He promptly told me that he had to go give blood for a friend. I told him of course to go, no problem at all.
It made me realize that I haven’t informed you all of the system here for such things, so I should probably do that.
In Turkey, blood banks are actual banks. You make deposits and you can only take what you’ve deposited. So if you haven’t deposited blood, your friends and family of the same blood type have to show up and give blood on the spot to help you out.
I explained the system that exists in the USA and the students couldn’t believe it. Volunteers give blood. Blood is available when you need it.
What’s interesting is that so few people in the USA actually know what their blood type is, whereas in Turkey, it’s on your ID card. Your blood type is just as much a part of you as your name and Turks actually know it. It’s there for all to see, just like one’s name.
This means if people are a rare blood type, they seek out others who are the same blood type and are available to them upon need.
If only the two systems could combine, where everybody knows their blood type, and many people give voluntarily so that blood can be available to everybody anytime.
It’s just another example of how life is so vastly different in the two cultures we’ve grown to know, but the people inside of them simply accept the way things are.