What I’m about to write is what most of my weekdays look like. Well, almost, since every day out here in Dilijan comes with its own surprises. So, let’s stick to a Tuesday, the most disliked day of the week (as per surveys). Now, let me tell you what most of MY Tuesdays look like these days.
A Volunteer’s Morning
I wake up around 8:10 a.m., after pressing the snooze button at least twice, take a quick shower, get dressed and start panicking about it being 8:50 a.m. already. My colleague would be picking me up in about 5 minutes. As usual, I don’t have time to have breakfast. I rush down to wait for my colleague. Dilijan has finally taken off its white coat and is looking greener than ever. It feels like the Verev Rope Park facing my apartment building is calling me for a long walk, not later at night, but right now, but the black Mercedes arrives just in time to brush that thought off. It’s time to head to work at the Dilijan Community Center (DCC).
Gaining Hands-on Experience Teaching and Helping the Team
Mornings at DCC are quiet, maybe even too quiet. We need our dose of caffeine (decaf in my case) and small talk to get over the quiet and be ready to kick start our day. A lot of planning, organizing and writing goes into that part of the day. Work goes smoothly and quietly until lunchtime and the coffee break following lunch. But, what’s before lunchtime is nothing like what comes after. With every passing hour, the Center starts getting more and more crowded and louder and louder. Children, teenagers and adults keep the corridors busy at all hours of the afternoon. Some are here for dance practices with the “Nazani” dance group, others come to sing with the “Louseh” choir, others want to learn Spanish with my fellow Birthright Armenia volunteer, Ashod, and then there’s a long list of classes like Computer Literacy, Art, knitting, English, Chinese, Project Management, the Youth Entrepreneurship Institute and much more, for locals and residents from Artsakh, to choose from. It’s amazing the number of people I get to bump into within a few hours. Many of them are familiar faces now, even though we do get the occasional new face. They are not just random people at this point; they are the community, MY COMMUNITY. On Tuesdays, I usually end my workday with what would probably be my favorite part of the day, the Conversational English class I teach twice a week.
Evenings in Dilijan
After work hours, it’s just green Dilijan and me again. A month and a half in and I’m still your typical tourist-volunteer, who is constantly astonished by the beauty of the area lost at most times and lost in translation the rest of the time. My Western Armenian, mixed with some Arabic and some English and probably a French word here and there (just your typical Lebanese/Armenian), keeps people guessing a lot of the time, but we eventually manage to agree on the most probable translation.
Adios for now (I’ve been obviously participating in the Spanish classes). I’ll keep you posted with my latest adventures sometime in the future.