I write about my first week as a volunteer in Armenia, Gyumri.
I am finally here! :) I am starting 9 months of EVS in Armenia, Gyumri (the second biggest city in Armenia, Yerevan the capital city is bigger, but it doesnt feel like a big city. It's small, but warm).
I flew here over Vienna, Austria, but I had only an hour and a half to the next flight, so I didn't see Vienna :(
Raffi, my mentor, who also took part in the same mentor training that I had, is a nice guy. I am really lucky to have him as my mentor and I am looking if he uses the knowledge that we learned there ;) I am the first person, he had ever mentored :D
He picked me up with my new flatmate Martin. It was really nice that he came and he is pretty cool guy as well. Martin's Slovakian and he has been here 5 months already.
Anyway we arrived to the flat, where I am going to live and it's a pretty nice flat and I have my own room so that's nice. First I had a five-hour nap, then had some coffee. They have like really small cups, our big cups they say are American.
I went to the office and everybody gave me a really warm welcome. We had lunch together: cake and strawberries. It's weird, but before I came here as an EVS volunteer I sold strawberries, so strawberrys must be following me everywhere ;) (What a tasty follower).
Then my hosting organisation introduced to me the organisation, so that I would have a better understanding of it. I work Tuesday to Saturday, while Sunday and Monday is free. That's a little bit different than regular workdays. :)
I signed some contracts about flat rules and the suggestions were pretty different from what some people are used to. For example, it is not suggested to dye my hear some extravagant colour, because the local community does'nt approve it and will look at me all the time and maybe I can even get in trouble for that. Luckily I did'nt plan to dye my hair any colour :D
For girls it's even harder to be here, because it's not suggested to walk alone at night-time. Some guys just stop and suggest to get in their car and they will drop you off, but it's just dangerous to get into a stranger's car. ( Stranger danger, ya know) ;) Volunteering with me, there is also another Estonian girl, who has been here ten months already and it has happened to her many times. Now she just walks on the opposite direction of where the cars drive on the street, so they can't stop that easily. It's a pretty clever way, but some guys just turn their car around.Yeah, it's hard to be a girl here.
Then we went for a beer with two French girls, my room mate, Raffi (my mentor) and a German EVS guy. We had a nice time and all of them are really welcoming and positive about the city. One weird thing was that we had to pay for the table. It did'nt make sense to us, we paid, but I think I will look for some other places to go now. Even a local guy said it was idiotic, but yeah, they lost me for nine months so, their loss is bigger. :D
Then I went back to the flat and my room mate said „Don't think of it as my place, it is our place now“ - A really nice thing to say! :)
I did my first shopping here, I bought dumplings and cooked them. They were much tastier than Estonian ones. The next day, I went out with Raffi to change my number to an Armenian one and he showed me the city. We went for dinner and we reflected on how I was doing here and talked. It was really nice. I couldn't ask for better mentor :)
The next day, I went to the theatre with an Estonian volunteer. We took the marshrutka and one man told her that she is very beautiful and that he loved her (what a weird thing to say). Hey!! Why didn't he say that I am beautiful? I am not that ugly, wait am I? Maybe I need to color my hair, then he would say it! :D He also asked us who we are to each other and we said that we are friends. It is weird when boys and girls are just friends here, so yeah he assumed that we are together I think and hmmm... Its even weirder now to say „I love you“ when I am there, Hey hands off man!!! :D
Marshrutkas are like mini vans which drive though the city. They have no schedules, they just come when they decide to come basically :D There are no bus stops either. People just sign when they want to get on. (There are some bus stops, but the sign system is very useful, you will never be late.)
Anyway, we went to the theatre and the play itself was very primitive, but still enjoyable. (It was a Czech theatre group and there was one scene where the main actress was only in her underpants and I felt that the audience was like "wow" for a moment, because they are not used to that kind of plays here). When it ended, all the people stood up and applauded, what was very nice to see. :)
After the play we went to eat something and just talked about stuff. The weather was really terrible, but the company was nice, so it was a nice evening. :)
Then my two free days were over. My room mate went to watch the revolution in Yerevan. He also is a photographer and media person and he took some awesome pics there.
Anyway, I went to work for the first time: I arrived first of all volunteers so yeey for me! Everybody wore white to show their support for the revolution, but nobody told me to wear white before, so I didn't know it. (But I ate my lunch in a white plate to show my support so it still counts I hope :D) People are really happy and I hope things will get better.
The internet was sooo slow that day in the office, because everybody streamed the voting in Yerevan parliament. No matter where you are, you are still rooting for your country, really nice to see that. :)
At night it was time for the Eurovision song contest, which I watched it in my flat. There was a gathering in the youth house too, but i was too tired to go there. Estonia got to the final, Armenia didnt, but they are the real winners of their revolution. Everybody had a free day, because it's the 9th of May. We had to work, but as they said we can celebrate it all together :)
So far so good, as they say :) Until the next time :)
Az eredeti bejegyzés itt található: https://www.youthreporter.eu/de/beitrag/my-first-week-as-a-volunteer.14374/#.XHzQTLh7nIU
Tolner Veronika Lipcsében EVS önkéntes annál a koordináló szervezetnél, ahol a Youthreporter szerkesztősége is működik.