Contributer - Hasmik Baghdasaryan
The first official day in the village of Shvanidzor was full of adventures and excitement for all of us.
We started to bond more as a team as we learned more about one another, helped each other with different issues, resisted against the insects, and explored the neighboring villages together. What was particularly entertaining were the after-breakfast chores, as Vanuhi and myself sang different traditional songs while washing dishes in the spring.
In the morning we all had the opportunity to meet with the school’s principal, several of the teachers, and the school librarian. At this meeting, we got a chance to speak with the teachers about our plans for the upcoming weeks, what we will be teaching, and ask them questions about how to conduct ourselves in Armenian classrooms and in this village in particular. Additionally we learned from Mrs. Zakaryan, the principal, that the Shvanidzor School has been around for 130 years –however, it operated from a different structure until the 1970s. Following our meeting, we all got to pick our classrooms, set-up the necessary materials, and make final touches to our first lesson plans.
In the afternoon we all went on a trip to the neighboring towns of Meghri and Agarak. As the saying goes, “the journey was more important than the destination,” as the fifteen of us managed to squeeze inside a nine-person van and sing our way across the Armenia-Iran border. Our trip culminated with a tour of the bus driver’s pomegranate orchard—which, if anyone is wondering what Eden looks like can just look through the photos.
At the end of the day we reflected on the day’s experiences and shared our excitement for the first official day of classes.