As our third week in Armenia and our second week of Gyumri Jampar begins, I reminisce about all of the things we have experienced in Armenia thus far. Since this is my first time visiting Armenia, I had no idea what to expect… Traveling through Yerevan was absolutely beautiful and when we left I was under the impression that the best part of my trip was over. Arriving in Gyumri, I came to realize that I still had five amazing weeks to spend in this country. Jampar began and as I began to interact with these kids, I realized how lucky I am to have this opportunity.
I have worked with kids before through different after school programs, but nothing compares to the children of Gyumri. These kids are full of life, enthusiasm, and curiosity. It is refreshing to see that kids are still so eager to learn new things. English class is the quietest time throughout the day and the kids are always asking if they are doing their assignments correctly. Anytime I speak English with Arin, another fellow counselor in Team Gabooyd, I immediately see their eyes light up. It’s strange how interested they are about our lives and the English language, in the same way we are interested in their lives.
At first I was hesitant about leaving Yerevan and traveling to a different part of Armenia, but after living in Gyumri, I feel like I have experienced the true Armenia. In Gyumri, I realized that this is the city that is full of true Armenian history, culture, and tradition. This city and its residents truly appreciate us and the Youth Corps program for all that it has done and continues to do in their city. We receive countless “thank yous” everyday from parents and the local residents as we walk to and from Jampar. Now that I have interacted with this kids, I am that much more excited to see what the next two sessions of Jampar hold.