Armenian Volunteer Corps

Welcome to the Armenian Volunteer Corps (AVC) blog. Here our volunteers and alumni reflect on their experiences living and volunteering in Armenia. For more information about our programs, visit our website, follow us on Facebook or drop us an email: .

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Sunday Recap with SunChild Rebecca

Rebecca Kandilian

First and foremost, I must apologize for posting this a bit later than I intended—totally uncharacteristic of me. Only in extreme/unusual situations do I fall short when it comes to making deadlines, promises appointments etc. I must also mention that I have not slept much these past couple of days—here comes another apology for the possibility of not making sense at times. Sitting in the office, next to my overstuffed backpack, wearing my now-faded jeans and Nike shoes filled with dirt with a red bump on every two-inches of by arms and legs (compliments of the mosquitoes and flies) I will try to sum up the interesting/fun/challenging/unforgettable four days I spent out in the wilderness in a region called “Urtsadzor” (Urdz= Thyme , Dzor= Gorge).

What was I doing there? In short, I was helping out with a SunChild project which involved filming a reality TV show where kids spend a weekend out in the wild trying to survive (very similar to the show “survivior”). Over the four days, I was surrounded by three things. First, the breathtaking beauty of Urtsadzor, the thyme filled gorges, rivers, ancient churches etc. Second, a film crew made of a dozen personnel filming every move as these six incredible kids spend an unforgettable three days in the wild hiking through gorges, churches, fortresses and Khosrove reserve all located in Urtsadzor.

The project, among other things, was organized with the goal of introducing the children to the beauty of the nature that their country has and to encourage them to preserve and cherish its existence. These six kids were selected from various eco-clubs, an establishment by SunChild where children gather and learn about different environmental issues and discuses solutions and their part in preserving the natural habitat of Armenia, located in different regions. On the very first day, before the start of their journey, each child was given a task: healer, archaeologist, pathfinder, cook etc. Each day the children equipped with an Ipad (how cool is that?) and a GPS went along from a starting point to their final camp site. Along the way, by following signs were places, riddles given, hints and clues provided that tested them both physically and mentally.

I suppose I shall thank the gal at our office for not being able to go at the last minute and my eager beaver-ness for agreeing to jump right into it. Being a bit of a nerd, I used my studying skills to learn and memorize all of the trails and activities with their minute details in a couple of hours. I also did not know much of the crew members or the kids—I had only been working in the office for 3 days. But, we leaned on our inherent commonality; I was Armenian just like them. But, I later learned, through our chats in between filming, we had much more in common than just that. And the kids, uhhhh the kids, what a joy to be around! Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to speak with them until last night after we finished filming but we instantly ‘clicked’ as they stormed me with millions of questions and asked me to write their names in Armenian to test if I REALLY knew how to write. It also did not take them long to divide up the clothes I was wearing (a dirty jeans and a t-shirt) amongst themselves—apparently they liked the things I wear. I promised to give it all to them after my 9 weeks of stay--I do need my belt and pants for the next couple of weeks!

Thanks for reading…I will be doing a really fun project for the remainder of my stay and will write all about it in my next entry.

P.S. The injured foot is as good as new—I have now gained a much deeper appreciation for my feet.

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