When I first arrived to Armenia, I was lost in all of our majestic historic landmarks; however today I find myself lost in my thoughts, my thoughts of how six weeks have gone by and I am about to return home.
This is why I have compiled a list. This list includes some of our prized accomplishments and moments:
We became local superstars! We were featured on television news in Armenia four times and by the end of camp everyone on the streets of Gyumri–and sometimes in Yerevan–knew who we were.
We accomplished sharing a single bathroom with 16+ people.
Motion sickness will never get the best of us, since we withstood our long and windy rode to Tatev.
We now have immediate back-up plans when ordering what to eat. Due to the fact that anything you are craving at the moment is always conveniently out of stock.
We always seem to “almost” do things (aka getting to the top of Arakats and Kaskad).
We can now survive off lavash for the rest of our lives.
We were able to cross the Armenian-Georgian border without needing to purchase a visa. But of course justice was served to us once we tried getting back to Armenia and the Armenian border control made us all purchase new visas.
We accomplished coming up with literally a handful of awkward gestures.
We can now say we are as reliable as a thesaurus due to our endless rounds of “Password”.
We survived sitting on Gyumri’s swing of death!
We are no longer frightened when someone *cough*Degeen Lilig*cough* peeps through the bathroom window and then barges in.
We have officially started the Tata Simonyan die-hard fan club.
We can now recognize who is coming into the room by hearing peoples footsteps.
We can get away with mischievous deeds by exclaiming “Eeee” or “Lav eli”.
We can now survive without being on our Blackberry or iPhone.
We are expert bargainers due to our several visits to Vernesajh.
We can officially state that we are nomads, due to the fact that we were always moving around on the weekends.
We now are also part sardine because of the way we can jam-pack 4 people into one sleeping bag.
We all are now individually able to say that we have added 10 more people into our family.
We made a positive impact on the lives of over 150 children in Gyumri by giving them a summer they will never forget or have gotten if it wasn’t for this amazing program.
We came to Armenia to work hand-in-hand with our brothers and sisters here to help make it a better place for our future.
This list can go on and on, but this is some insight on what we have done this summer. Six weeks in Armenia seems like too much, but now that we have gone through the program, all of us would not mind staying longer.
Now that our work is done, and we visited not only Armenia but Kharapagh and Javakhk as well, I am certain of one thing—our work here is no where to being over. The Armenian people’s cries for help echo off each mountain-top. We need to keep coming back to our homeland and working to making it a better place. We must be the change we wish to see. As cheesy as that may sound, it’s the truth.
Without Youth Corps I would have been another Diasporan, disconnected from my homeland. Now I understand why we refer to Armenia as “Mayr Hayastan”, it is like our mother you can’t leave it for too long; you need to return to enjoy it and care for it.