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AYF-YOARF Eastern Region USA / News  / Javakhk Round 2 – U. Raffi Rachdouni

Javakhk Round 2 – U. Raffi Rachdouni

The next time you begin to doubt your capabilities, envision the life-changing experience you may have missed out on by not taking that brave step. Imagine that instead of thinking you’re mediocre and your actions meaningless to others, you take a step closer to that indescribable adventure. Now  picture some of the most inspiring young children; a feeling of humbling empowerment overcomes you when you stop and realize that you’ve molded their lives in a more positive shape. This past week in Javakhk is a true testament to this uplifting perspective.

Buying my plane ticket to seal the deal for this trip was a big decision in and of itself.  However, seeing the shocked smile from a 2012 camper, in thrilled disbelief of his returning counselor walking up that familiar street to the Armenian Youth Center one year later, was enough proof that I made a difference then, and that I was about do the same this time around—fingers crossed.

My job this summer is to devote many headache-filled hours of daily Hantes practice with the campers. Between speaking 98%  of the time in Armenian (I’m counting “um” as an English word), my unhealthy consumption of Excedrin, and the probable ear damage due to screeching recorders, I’m still very happy to say that the chaos seems to be paying off at this halfway point of our Jampar. From a teacher’s standpoint, these talented kids thirst for more knowledge, culture and fuel to keep their heritage going; it’s quite the feeling to be a part of that…

In honor of 2013 being dedicated to “The Year of the Mother,” the Jampar kids learned to sing, “Իմ Անուշ Մայրիկ” (My Sweet Mother), which reminded me of how grateful I am of mine; someone who raised me to think of others first, to always strive to do my best, and especially for this experience, to speak, read and write Armenian fluently so that I could visit the homeland and regions beyond, to interact with fellow Armenians that hospitably welcome the fraternal influence of the diaspora. Thanks Maral!

Just as these campers represent the very much alive culture in Javakhk, my decision to return proves that doubt is the only hinderance to seizing the opportunity to make a difference. Carpe Diem.


Raffi Rachdouni

Counselor, Camp Javakhk, Akhaltskha

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