Visiting ArmeniaBy: Edward Kabakian | Posted on: 10.02.2012
I strongly believe that every Armenian should visit Armenia at least once during their lifetime. By visiting Armenia, not only do we return to our roots and see where our forefathers came from, but we also renew our commitment to the Armenian cause by seeing our motherland with our own eyes.
During the summer of 2010, I had the privilege of visiting Armenia with the ARF JOC. Members from Montreal, Cambridge & Toronto participated in this once in a lifetime trip, which surely was a remarkable excursion for us all. Simply taking my first steps on Armenian soil invoked feelings within me that I cannot explain in words. The best way I can possibly describe it was a sense of pride mixed along with a sense of gratification. I was proud because we have a free and liberated country, and thankful since I was able to see it firsthand, thanks to the ARF JOC.
Since we were younger, we have continuously been taught about Armenian history and Armenia’s famous landmarks. From our time in school to our weekly meetings, conversations would always come up about how beautiful or how breathtaking certain areas of Armenia were. However, it was only after visiting the country that those conversations actually meant something more to me. Armenia was not an idea in our minds anymore. It was finally in front of our very eyes. After seeing the historic churches and various landmarks throughout our excursion did we realize how much history our nation holds and how passionate we should be when it comes to our past.
Unfortunately, as the trip progressed and the country moved further away from an idea and became more real to us, we also began seeing the other side of Armenia. It is almost impossible not to realize the amount of poverty that exists in the country. Regardless of having nothing, even most unfortunate children on the streets still managed to greet us with huge smiles on their faces. Not only did this make me realize how lucky we were and how much we have in our daily lives that we take for granted, but also got me thinking about how Armenia and its population are in need of such dire help. It is our duty as Armenians across the world to aid in our country’s wellbeing.
One should not think about a visit to Armenia as a holiday. While you are sure to have a great time during your trip, it can also be a life-altering experience. Not only will seeing the country instill within you a sense of pride and appreciation, it will also get you thinking about the country’s future and wellbeing. I strongly believe that every Armenian should visit Armenia at least once during their lifetime, because it is only by seeing the country with your own eyes that you can truly understand its problems and help its future.
I hope to someday return and help the nation prosper in any way I can. The country has lasted through much heartache and countless problems and can only flourish from here on.