I finally got to see Armenia! Our country of origin, the country that history hasn’t been abundant or generous to, the country I have always been hearing about and got to experience on my 27th year of my life.
It was nothing to what I imagined. Yes, the ‘scars’ of a brutal history and the struggle to get through everyday life were obvious as well as the influence from the not so far Soviet Union times. But there is a group of optimistic and full of hope people that believe in Armenia and its new generation.
I joined Reanimania, the International Animation Film Festival of Yerevan, as a volunteer on its second year. Although it was something different to my working experience I enjoyed working on a challenging project and cooperating with young, bright and creative Armenians. Not speaking Armenian was difficult but wasn’t an obstacle as I found ways of communicating with my colleagues somehow! Continue reading →
After having spent about 5 months in Armenia last year, I returned in June to continue interning for World Vision NGO. This time my placement was in Talin, a small town about an hour NW of Yerevan. Despite having been in Armenia before, I was really anxious prior to coming. I guess I was mostly concerned about what my homestay family would be like, and how I would manage to exercise in Talin. Armed with my travel friendly resistance bands and jump rope, I was greeted in Talin by a great family with 2 girls around my age. I was off to a good start.
My work with World Vision consists largely of preparing, conducting and assessing public health trainings with mother support groups in the various villages around Talin (and occasionally with kids at summer camps). We cover topics ranging from diabetes to proper breastfeeding practices. The way I see it, the active mothers in the group serve as the internet for their community; they have those answers that you would have asked Google. We have one village that truly deserves a gold medal, as it has gone above and beyond and we have seen real changes in health indicators. Continue reading →
As I am writing this blog, it has been exactly 3 months and 1 day since I left Yerevan. I left with no proper goodbyes and no last walk down the streets of my beloved city. Since somehow I Knew I would soon be back to the same Hanrapetuyan Street. Emotions are building up, memories are revisited every time I go through my agenda, phone book, concert and museum tickets, postcards and most of all pictures- pictures of places, people and moments.
I arrived in Yerevan on a cold March day and for a moment I thought “what would I really do here for the coming months?”. Yet, 3 months were not enough. 3 months were only the beginning of feeling comfortable to where I truly belong. Now only 3 months later, I feel the urge to express my impending longing to be back home. Yerevan, for me now is home. I have never felt home before; being born in Syria, growing up most of my adulthood in Montreal and lately living in Toronto made me feel like I was always “homeless”. Now I came to the realization that it is not where you are born, nor where you actually live that makes you call somewhere home. I now understand, home is where you feel comfortable, where you feel like you belong. I belong in Armenia! Continue reading →