BY KAREEN SHATIKIAN
After an 11 hour drive to Martuni, with a 15 passenger van filled with suitcases, smelly bodies and no air conditioning, the idea of a shower sounded like a dream. Around midnight we were able to settle into our new home for the next two weeks and meet our host family. I asked where their shower was and after collecting all my shower supplies I was led into a six by six foot room with a hose attached to the low ceiling. Inside this shower that could also be confused for a prison cell, I put my supplies down next to a spider that was residing peacefully and turned on the hose to shower. After two minutes, the hose was spewing liquid fire and I had to ask our house mother to fix the water. While dripping wet and wrapped in a towel, she came into the muddy prison cell and fixed the water.
I came out clean and changed. I was so humbled by the kindness our host family showed. I knew the living conditions here would be completely different than back home but I didn’t think it would leave an emotional impact on me. This family has so little compared to us, yet they eagerly welcome us with open arms and give us what little they have.
I now realize that this program is bigger than all of us. As cliché as it sounds, we’re affecting these kids’ lives and the whole population of Martuni is changing ours.
We’re leaving the beautiful city of Martuni in less than two weeks and I’m going to miss showering in my prison cell. I’ve been humbled about everything I’ve been through so far. I already have enough stories and memories to entertain my family with for months. I can’t believe this journey will continue on for another four weeks and 6 days. I’m ready to explore the showers in Baghanis and Proshyan.