Sauntering into Summer

Now I am in the midst of a fun couple weeks to begin the summer season. Last week we had an international camp. On the near horizon I will participate in a PCT (Peace Corps Trainee) training and also meet up with the Border 2 Border walkers for the grand finale of that event.

The camp was a pretty big success. There were tons of Armenian kids together making cool memories, great staff facilitating a fulfilling few days, and several Americans doing their best to ignore the culture shock, language barrier, and jet lag. We went to our Daranak Camp building for 3 days. The first day was just the core group of Americans and their penpals doing icebreakers, playing games, and getting to know each other. The second day was scouting-themed, which included cooking food over fires near the shore of Lake Sevan and an evening bonfire. The final day was eco-themed, where we did a service project planting trees around the building.

I think it's safe to say we had fun

For me the camp was twice as interesting because there were all these Americans there from Alabama. I served as sort of a liaison between them and the Armenian way of life. It was interesting to hear an Alabaman accent after months of hearing everything but a southern accent. Connecting with the Americans was rewarding but also eye-opening. It made me realize that I have changed and am in some sense a bit Armenian now. Or at least I feel like a citizen of the world at this point rather than of either country. Something weird like that.

The camp ended with a moving TenSing show, heartfelt goodbyes, the Vardenistsis planting the remaining trees, and pictures.

Shat lav nkar e – Kevina varrvats dempkov (It’s a really nice picture…Kevin has a burned face). I took one of myself just to illustrate:

This will be in the running for craziest look during service

The high mountain sun scorched me during the 2 days planting trees. My arms look Armenian, but my face is undoubtedly a European red.

Tuesday I travel to a place called Nor Hajn to participate in the new PCTs’ CBD tech training. I will be part of a panel of 3 PCVs that will discuss business culture in America and probably answer a bunch of random questions. Nor Hajn is the new central location for training. The trainees are living in villages around this town. Last year (and for the prior 2 years) PST had been held around Charentsavan. PC switches the location every 3 years to spread the economic wealth around. Although this new site is suspiciously close to Yerevan…I guess all the PC staff doesn’t like commuting very far from home!

Meeting the PCTs will be exciting and probably a slap in the face. The “you’ve been here for 1 year already and now you should pretend to act like you know what you’re doing so that you can advise them” slap.

While I’m busy indoctrinating the noobs, my other friends will be continuing their trek through the countryside in pursuit of health awareness. Border2Border, that thing we funded back in April thanks to your support, is in full swing. In fact, it will be concluding on the 20th in a town called Yeghegnadzor in the middle of the country. Yours truly will be tagging along with the northern team starting from Martuni on the 16th. The 16th is a teaching day. The next 2 days will be spent walking through the supposedly beautiful Selim Pass, sleeping overnight in some sort of silk road-esque caravanserai, and arriving in Yegh for the final presentation and celebration. It’s been a huge effort from many different people, especially our fearless leader Austin. To see the completion of the walking will really be something special.


4 Responses to “Sauntering into Summer”

  1. Slim Shady Says:

    Seriously Kev that picture is pretty amazing of you! So rugged, if cigarettes were still allowed to advertise you would be the new spokes person. Thank god they are not because I would probably instantly start smoking if I saw that picture!

  2. Peter Says:

    Someone is definitely violating the socks and sandals forbidden combination. Great photo, you look weathered, battle hardened, etc.

  3. icenugget Says:

    Mr. Shady, with your legal counsel, I believe we can take on the system and become cronies for an Armenian cigarette company, such as VIP (pronounced here as “veep”). We stand to make at least $8 from such an endeavor.

    Peter, it should be mentioned that not only is she wearing sandals with socks, but those socks are INDIVIDUAL TOE’d. I’d like to see a German try to pull THAT off.

  4. Peter Says:

    You are now the crafty vet. Teaching all those little nooblets how to pwn Armenia.

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