I am currently on a jaunt through Syunik Marz, the southern most region of Armenia, an hour or so from Iran, 9 hours from my home in the North. I am helping a fellow volunteer and best friend with a project in her town. This morning we met a second round of smiling school directors, all eager to pass out our summer camp applications to their students on this last day of school. Walking into schools, hearing this strange, wonderful language fall from my lips, smiling and shaking hands with bright-eyed Armenians, the morning made me remember everything I’ve loved about working here. Walking in to a new place with some creativity and two supportive organizations behind me (Peace Corps and World Vision), I have found no end to eager and welcoming men and women, all ages, listening for a new idea and a new perspective on how to make their community a better one.
Liana, Gayane, Arman, Armen, Davit, Edgar, Rusana, Arpine, Misha, Tigran, Hasmik, Alvard, Ashkhen, Gevorg, Hakob, Armine, Anna, Nazeli, Mikhael, Adrineh, Amalia, Andranik… I could keep going. I have been more than impressed by the minds and hearts that have met mine and surpassed me in initiative, creativity, and passion for community improvement.
I keep trying to gather stories of these men and women, people who have changed me and inspired me. Mostly I am overwhelmed by how generous they have been to invite me in, listen to my ideas, and help me achieve more than I could ever do alone.
I’m pretty sure these kinds of relationships, this kind of work, is why people join Peace Corps. And look at that, a dream come true.