By Lucine from Georgia
Hi, I’m Lucine, and I live in a Samtskhe-Javakheti. Although I live in Georgia, my community is Armenian. We have Armenian traditions, like dance and food, and speak Armenian. My school is really close to my house and all the classes are taught in Russian. I am studying Russian, Georgian, Armenian, and English, but my favorite is English. I like school because all my friends and classmates are there. In the autumn, our school day is from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., but in the winter, we don’t start school until 9:30 am, because it is hard for students to come to school due to snow and ice. But even when school starts late, we still are done with classes by 2:00 pm.
I don’t really like art or making crafts. Sometimes, when I’m bored, I will make bracelets or necklaces with beads. The only time I like to make crafts is at Christmas time. It is a tradition in my family that we make Christmas tree ornaments out of salt-dough and snow globes. I really like making these with my older sister. Instead, I prefer to play games like volleyball, tennis, or Topkelotsi. Topkelotsi is the Armenian name for a game similar to dodge ball. Children stand in a circle and pass the ball the each other. If you cannot catch the ball, you must go in the middle of the circle and try to catch the ball as it is flying over your head. If you catch it, you can join the kids in the circle again.
There aren’t any special traditions to celebrate girls in my community, except maybe birthdays and weddings. Particularly for me, I don’t know any female role model in my community. Though I know throughout history about King Tamar and the scientist, Mariya Kuri – they really were the representatives of strength and knowledge.
My native language is Armenian, but I am also fluent in Russian. I can speak some Georgian and English. In my community a word that refers to a girl is akhjik, child is yerekha or txa, and woman is kin. Armenian also has its own alphabet. Girl is written as աղջիկ, and woman is կին.
This personal essay was developed as part of the Girl Child Project. For the project, Peace Corps Volunteers around the world collected and shared stories of girls in their communities to celebrate their diverse paths toward opportunity and success. This project was facilitated by the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Working Group at Peace Corps Headquarters.