This being my third trip to my homeland, I thought the experience would be somewhat similar to my last two times. Little did I know this experience would be completely different. From the kids at camp, to our host family, to the deghatsis taking us around, or even the people we encounter on a daily basis, all have left a major impression on my life. It’s only been one week since I’ve been in Gyumri, and the experience has already been life changing.
I can’t begin to describe the joy in my heart every morning when I see my kid’s faces light up as we pull up in our cars; how they are already hugging and kissing us before we even get a chance to get out of the car or how they come with picked flower bouquets every morning for us. Their kind hearts want to do everything they can for us to feel more welcomed and comfortable. Although controlling a class of sixty kids with only two counselors has been pretty difficult, the pride I feel when these children learn something new is unexplainable. At the end of the day, no matter how exhausted I am, knowing I’m making a difference in these children’s lives is worthwhile and heart warming.
Although I haven’t had the chance to visit Armenia with my family, the six other participants in my group have turned into my family. I spend every minute of the day with this group and we go through our hardships and our high points together. I’m excited for the four more weeks I get to spend with my group and the three hundred other kids I will have the pleasure of meeting.
I have fallen in love with this country in a whole new way. Youth Corps gave me the opportunity to experience Armenia in a different way. It gave me the opportunity to live with the people of Gyumri and experience what they experience. I cannot imagine going back to my life in America; this has become my life and home and it’s distressing to know my time here is so short. But until the day I get the chance to move back here, I will continue doing my best to visit as often as I can and doing my part from the Diaspora to help progress and better our homeland.
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