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: .

Monday, January 31, 2011

A Special Journey with Special Adults

Ashley Howard

The final image of David and I, flashes across my mind as a stop motion video. His voice shatter’s around me, the echo of falling laughter. I may never feel the warmth of his young wrinkled hands, or his chapped lips caressing my cheek as he would say goodbye. He whisper’s to me, almost silent, his shadow fallows me as I walk towards the plane. I am on my way “Home” relatively speaking. He surrounds me with all eleven of the adults that I spent the last three months working with at Warm Hearth. I am unsure of the fate of these beautiful residents. Their fate hangs in the closets of politicians. The symphony Natalie; the founder created through the office of each diplomat and political figure may ring through the streets of Yeravan, but it may not even awaken one man. The differences these individuals encompass is more of a gift and less of a disability. There is a light that shine’s from deep within them; it brought a smile to my heart every time I was in their presence. There is a saying that you must smile from your mind, mouth, heart and even your liver to achieve balance. They brought that balance into my life and for all their kindness I am forever grateful. The fate of our adjoined journey is wide open, the path is widening into a road as I start living my life outside of Armenia and my once youthful days. The time has come to start making those choices that lead to a destination. With warm hearth always in my heart; they are the smile to my liver. I will hopefully always work towards the life of this wonderful home!

I sit here in Peet’s tea and coffee in good old Boston reflecting on my three months in Yerevan, fondly re-watching the movie I created through the memory of my wonderful host family and the places I worked. The kindness bestowed upon me was selfless, full of love and I am forever grateful. I was constantly reminded of my beloved grandmother who is wrapped in the embrace of mother’s soil. The need to feed people with love is an identifier of Armenian people, especially the vintage. My host family was constantly trying to feed me, the folk I met on the bus or through work were doing the same. Whether I was invited into the home of a kind stranger or asked to eat with the women I worked with, it was always the same, kindness and hospitality.

One thing I can say for sure, is that Armenia will forever hold a special place in my heart. I may not visit there for years, but the memories and lessons I learned while there are etched in my mind, embedded on the film I used to create my story. If you choose to embark on this journey, you will forever be touched, changed and reborn!

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