Edgar likes to takes pictures. He’s notoriously naughty, uses his youth corps wristband as a sling shot, and has difficulty sitting still for extended periods of time. Edgar gets in trouble more often than anybody at camp because he’s eight years old and can’t yet control his impulses.
Gayane is six going on seven. Like most of the girls in hayastan, she’s sweet, shy, and helpful. She speaks softly unless she’s reciting a poem. Once, she hugged me after a tiring day of camp chasing Edgar and reminded me why I came.
Harout has green eyes, light hair, and tendency to play rough. He does questionable and dangerous things like quadruple back flips on the stairs and throws rocks at the wild dog that roams the neighborhood; but he always keeps a careful eye on his younger brother. He’s a regular in time out, and was a regular street kid before Youth Corps came to Gyumri.
Ruzana is only seven but she reads and writes fluently in three languages.
I told Nareg if he memorized all of Arytok Ovker En in ten minutes he could sing it solo for song competition. On Friday, Nareg will perform all 7 verses of Artyok Ovker En for all of camp and their parents.
Shushan asked me what the girls were going to do while the boys were playing futbol. My answer surprised her- it was that the girls can choose to play soccer with the boys or they can choose to sit down. Then we chose to play soccer. It was satisfying.
Yesterday these kids lined up in the correct order, by themselves. In an hour I get to teach and sing and play with them again. And they get to teach and sing and play with me.
I guess this is an attempt to communicate that regardless of who you are or where you’re from, if you were here, you’d agree with the following: the people, especially the children, of Gyumri are amazing.