Contributor: Hasmik Baghdasaryan
The HRI weekend excursions to the Tatev monastery and the Khndzoresk swinging bridge are always two incredibly beautiful experiences, filled with exposure to history, culture, heritage, and natural wonders. However, as is the case with any other undertaking, there are the occasional bumps in the road; and when my body was giving up on me as a consequence of an unexpected food-poisoning, I had of 15 of my closest friends, most of whom I had met less than a week ago, by my side.
The bonds we, camp leaders, form with one another are almost always stronger than those formed with the village or our students. It simply comes with the territory. We live with one another for two weeks, we use the same stream for absolutely all water related activities, we struggle against natural elements together, and when worst comes to worst we are there for one another, and support one another through emotional, psychological, and even physical pain.
Waking up to an excruciating headache and nausea, I suffered as camper after camper tried to ease my misery in some way. From trying to help me drink some water, to eat any amount of food, to supporting me when my body rejected both. After a much needed night at the Goris Medical Center, along with my friend Gagik, who—as it turned out was in a similar condition—I finally got the chance to bask in the beauty of Khndzoresk, and perhaps more importantly, thoroughly and whole heartedly, enjoy the company of the people whom I’ve come to consider family.
From midnight conversations, to cultural emersion activities through the village, to during-dinner insiders, this year’s HRI team has it’s own special համ ու հոտ (taste and aroma), and I cannot be more grateful to be a part of such a remarkable group.