It’s Tuesday night and we have now completed seven full days of our “Jampar” in Gyumri. The camp is running much smoother now that we and the children have become more comfortable with the daily routine. But, the kids are still extremely excited. It’s very easy to see that they have never experienced something like this camp. Every game, every song, every activity we do the kids genuinely enjoy. Seeing their looks of amazement when they watch Sensei Berj do some karate moves and the giant smiles on their faces when they do the chicken dance with 18-23 year olds during morning exercises are all we need to let us know that the kids are loving the camp.
As each day goes by our relationship with the kids grows. We have become very comfortable with each other. The jokes seem to be rolling freely now. Yesterday morning, the guy counselors finally confronted the group about the only real issue we’ve had so far; the flower issue. We explained to them how sad we were to see the girl counselors receive flowers every morning. Today, we were kind of regretting it because we are now all receiving what seems to be an endless supply of flowers throughout the day.
The kids mess around with us too. The boys collect tons of these spiky balls that grow on weeds all around our camp. These “pooshes,” as the kids call them, seem to stick to everything including clothes and hair. So once they collect enough they choose their target and carefully approach. Once their leader feels the time is right he yells “Hartsagoom!!!” and they all attack. You try to defend yourself at first, then you try to run but you turn around to see that you are surrounded. The attacks are always well organized. The designated target ends up with about 60 pooshes stuck all around his or her body.
Life outside of camp is pretty relaxing. The ten of us have become very close. We spend a lot of time in the living room just hanging out. We do a lot of talking. We play nardi, chess, and different card games. And we joke around a lot.
Deegeen Lilly, our host, is incredible. Every time we see her she greets us with a huge smile and always asks us if we need anything. Every morning she makes us breakfast with coffee and tea. She has made us dinner the passed couple nights. She always offers us something to eat and it’s impossible to refuse because her food is so good. Every time one of us coughs or shows any sign of being sick she gets worried and tries to diagnose our ailment and treat it properly. She cares for us like we are her kids. She laughs a lot and her laugh is adorable. She is amazing. She works nonstop in the kitchen taking care of the house, her husband, her three kids, and the ten of us, all while smiling and giggling at every little funny or interesting occurrence.