Hey there. I’m Knarik from Armenia. And you’re lucky you’re reading this, otherwise, I’d have to explain how to pronounce my name for 15 minutes, and spend some more on clarifying, if I’m from Albania, Romania, or Armenia.
I had to start my volunteering project in Poland back in August 2020, but due to COVID restrictions, I only arrived here in March 2021.
There’s one principle, that I’m not sure yet if I believe in or not, but this time it worked at its best. They say “Whatever happens, happens for the good”.
Now it feels surreal to think that I could be in Poland during the period that became the hardest in my life, hopefully. My country went through a war, and in the meantime, there were a few personal battles to fight. Poetic, huh?
When all that hell came to an end, I finally got to start my project, which was not an easy transition, I assure you, but I’m happy I made the decision to come to Poland after all, as now I’m sitting in the kitchen of my little flat in Gliwice, which feels like home already. But life’s a nice cycle, and all things, whether good or bad, come to an end one day, to make space for the new ones.
So it’s time for me to break up with Poland, my school, my roomies, zapiekankas, and other Polish dishes I fell in love with. But I think I’m gonna miss the transport system the most, oh, you can’t imagine how much (Europe, seriously, give us more funding for transport, please).
But back to business, I’ve gotta say goodbye to everyone here, and I hate that moment.
I’ve never considered myself to be fragile, seldom cried during break-ups, moreover, I never expected to cry because of leaving my job!
During all my experience working with people, I’ve tried not to form relations so close, that it’s so hard to let them go afterward.
But it was not until I started working with kids.
I have a very special and different connection with each of them, and I didn’t know that they feel it so deeply too until I left for Armenia this summer for a few weeks. The whole school group just jumped on me for a group hug, and they got very excited when I said I’d still be back.
But it was much harder with the little ones.
When I first came to school, some of them were really rude to me: using bad words and hitting me, tryna get my attention. But seeing my attitude towards them, they changed as well.
I was playing “chovanego” with one of them, in fact, the one kid that I “vibe” with the most. And I said, “ok, you’re hiding for the last time, because I need to go, but I’ll not come to school for almost 2 weeks, I’m gonna be in Armenia”.
He was shocked.
He said, “ok, one more round, close your eyes here”. So I did.
After I found him, he said:
⁃ Aaand now, you’re going to Armenia?
⁃ Yes, but I’ll come back…
⁃ …Can you stay, please?
⁃ But…I already have the ticket.
⁃ So your parents are waiting for you?
⁃ Ok, bye!
He turned his back on me and left angrily. Started fighting with the other kids, ruining the room, then came to me, blocked my way, and declared:
⁃ You’re not going, I won’t let you.
After another mentor explained why I need to go, he finally calmed down a bit.
He came to the gates with me, stood in the doorway until I left, and told me “Bye, Knarik” a hundred times, then sent me an air kiss, went back to school, and shouted in a sad voice.
⁃ Knarik went home…
I had such a feeling for the first time, and I burst into tears.
This was an experience that I didn’t expect to have when I was coming to the project, and although it breaks my heart to imagine how hard it’s gonna be to say goodbye to them at the end of the project, I comfort myself with the thought that I gave them as much love as I had, and received the same.
It’s not an easy task, to sum up, a year experience in a single article, but during this time I definitely paled up enough adventure stories to tell my (non-existent) grandchildren later on.
So travel. It’s worth it.
A bit melodramatic Knarik from Armenia
Active Women Association
The project is co-funded by the #EUsolidaritycorps