Armenia is a Peace Corps assignment wrought with challenges as well as blessings. What are David and I grateful for as we continue our 2nd year of service in Armenia? The first is the blessing of good health, unlike Thanksgiving 2010 which we spent in Niger, Africa during our first Peace Corps assignment. On that first Thanksgiving, David was being released from the hospital on Thanksgiving Day.
Music and Art: Armenia cherishes music and art and encourages its young people to study both. David and I have come to anticipate attending occasional concerts of the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra in Yerevan and the Dilijan Music School in our town. Dilijan Art School is a fine example of available training for young talented students as they join the ranks of other famous Armenian artists. Music soothes the soul and art brings a different perspective to life in Armenia where strife and stress abound.
Mountains: Visible from our apartment are lofty mountains which surround our town. Their majestic peaks will soon be snow-covered, but we are thankful for their mighty presence as we watch the seasons change throughout the year.
Flowers: Prolific profusions of flowers from early spring until the snows of winter make Dilijan, Armenia a haven for flower lovers. I am thankful for that blessing of beauty which brightens our days yet is taken for granted by many Armenians.
Hospitality of the Armenian people: Warm welcomes, a kiss on the cheek, an invitation to have coffee , small gifts brought to every encounter even by those with little money…… we cannot be grateful enough for those expressions of acceptance by people with whom we become acquainted.
Tutors: Without our tutor we’d be lost. Our tutor not only teaches a foreign language to older learners such as David and me, but is also a link to the community in which we live, to the people we want to meet, to her family, to events we enjoy and to life in Dilijan. For Knarick’s presence we are grateful.
Children: loving, laughing, curious, shy, ever present…..they are Armenia’s future and must be encouraged in the pursuit of more than basic education and life without hope. We are thankful to meet so many and to see them grow.
Heat: we have gas heat, expensive and warming. We are grateful to able to afford it in our old age!! Many volunteers rely on wood stoves and must balance staying warm with the scarcity of wood as the winter progresses. Most Armenians we know also struggle with staying warm in a cold country.
Peace Corps: without this organization we’d not be in Armenia. We are thankful for the opportunity to be in the Peace Corps and hope our time in Armenia means something to others.
Happy Thanksgiving to all. May your day be blessed with loved ones wherever you may be on the 4th Thursday of November, 2012.
Judy and Dave
Edited by man, 05 December 2012 - 08:02 AM.