A Lifetime of Memories in Three Short Weeks

Happy campers in Gyumri

BY TALIN SAKLARIAN

Our last day of camp in Gyumri has already arrived. These last two weeks have flown by, but it feels as if we’ve been here for months. For two weeks we’ve been teaching the children English, giving educationals, learning heghapokhagan (revolutionary themed) songs, and playing games. My favorite time of the day is in the morning when we have our opening ceremonies in the dahleej (gym) singing the Armenian national anthem, doing exercises, and listening to the different groups of kids (separated by colors) saying their team’s unique ganch (chant). The change that I’ve seen in the kids from the first day of camp are remarkable. During the first couple days of camp, the kids would take at least ten minutes to line up, but now as soon as they come in, they line up in their colors and make sure their lines are straight so Unger Arek can reward them by letting them go inside first. I now look at the children like my younger brothers and sisters and want the absolute best for every single one of them. Today, two of the boys from our color group came running into our classroom bearing two roses and a bouquet of flowers for Ani, Christine, and I. They explained to me that they woke up extra early and went to their harevan‘s (neighbor’s) house and asked them for roses from the garden and they picked the rest of the flowers from a small garden on the way to camp. Caught off guard, all I could do was smile and thank them for their kind gesture as that was the sweetest thing anyone’s done for me. In just three weeks 11 people that I just met have become my family. I’ve always been known as the quiet and shy girl, but with every passing day I feel like I’m able to open up even more to my group. From the moment we wake up in the morning until we go to sleep, whatever we do, we do together. We’ve already made so many memories together and we’re only half way through our trip. I can’t wait for all the fun experiences that await us in Proshyan and Artsakh.

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