BY ARMEN KAZARIANS
During the first two weeks of AYF Youth Corps, we have had a great experience everywhere we have gone. We have also created lasting memories at Jambar in Stepanakert, Artsakh. Our official opening ceremony was on Thursday, July 13, even though the camp had started on Monday.
Artsakh TV filmed our opening ceremony, and the day passed very smoothly. The school we are currently hosting Jambar at is Stepanakert’s Ashot Doulian (Bekor) Number 2 School. The opening day was quite productive and fun. We started with our usual opening ceremony by having our red, blue and orange groups line up and sing “Mshak Banvor” and the Artsakh National Anthem. Then, the entire camp did morning exercises together. Our group leader was interviewed about our purpose for the Jambar, and various esteemed guests, including members of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation in Arstakh, spoke to the participants and Artsakh TV to voice their support of AYF Youth Corps. After the ceremony, we returned to our regular schedule, which included song practice, arts and crafts, an educational lecture, lunch, and a fun game. We then had our closing ceremony, ending our day at Jambar.
A week into my stay in Stepankert, I have noticed that the Arstakh dialect, or “bar-bar,” is very unique. I am a native Eastern Armenian speaker, and am fortunate enough to understand most of what local Artsakh Armenians say. I’ve noticed it’s more difficult for native Western Armenian speakers to understand this dialect, but our entire group has been able to communicate and start to build relationships with our campers and local youth who volunteer and help the camp daily. Even though it takes some effort to understand the Arstakhstis, it is an interesting bar-bar to learn and understand, and this experience is the best way to learn. Within a week, I have managed to learn a few words that have helped me make memories with the Unkers helping us out and the Khokheq (kids) participating in the Jambar.