On Monday we made our first trip to the capital city. What a place! Yerevan is a fantastic resource full of exciting opportunities and passionate people. We visited the American University of Armenia in the morning and I was so encouraged by the support they have to offer PCVs. We will have access to the library, the past MPH (Masters in Public Health) projects and most importantly the graduates! Networking at it's best. To be honest I was rather surprised with myself sitting in the classroom and listening to the presentation because I found that I missed the college experience. It has only been three short months since I left the institution but as I was taking notes about the seven steps of the problem solving paradigm I was so excited. It seems like I shouldn't have taken so much for granted while I had the comfort of college life--I guess I miss it more than I realized. I'm excited we have the support of the master's department and I'm even more thankful that I have access to the city from my village.
Our next stop was APEC (AIDS prevention and education center) NGO. Here we learned: "If we want to change people's way of acting, we have to change their way of thinking." At first I viewed AIDS as a small issue in this country... I mean, according to the CIA factbook it is a small issue. What is important to note on this topic is that there is no such thing as a small issue in such a globalized world.
Finally, we went to a group home for disabled adults called Warm Hearth. Warm Hearth (Armenia's first group home) was founded by two PCVs who saw a need for a different approach to handling the developmentally disabled. Their work is amazing and inspiring. Although the two had fairly standard terms of PC service, beyond their wildest dreams this project became a reality last winter. What they kept repeating to us, and what really hit home for me, was that they never knew they could be capable of accomplishing this feat. Learning how to work within the Armenian system and how to interact with organizations such as Mission Armenia, financial contributors from the states and the government here is a tough challenge. They taught us that we never know what seeds our service may plant--and what the impact can be in the lives of those we meet. This is true in the states too. Thank you for all you do!
Introducing Emelyn Ruth Bornstein
2 years ago