*my speech for public speaking competition year 2009*
I am absolutely sure that you all have a home.
Have you ever wondered what your house will look like in 100 years?
Let me bring you three options:
A) It will stay exactly the same since you hate changes or you have moved to Russia, India or someplace else.
B) It will be the same because of the financial crisis of 2009
C) It will turn into a gas station, that provides energy for cars and more work for trees.
Well, in 1906 the Mnatsakanyan brothers had a home of their own. However, dear friends, there is no need to suggest three options for what happened to their home 100 years later.
It wasn’t destroyed or changed into something modern and ridiculous… It looks the same and serves as a B&B with a little shop of inspiration. They call it_ the “Hidden Treasure of Yerevan”.
Dear friends, I’m not a treasure hunter. Yet, I found this treasure one day as I was walking on Koghbatsi Street. Destiny?…
It was the little shop that was once a room in the Mnatsakanyan house, full of hand-crafted jars, plates, cups, bags of different colors, textures. Many of these things were made by orphans from the orphanage in Spitak. The money from the B&B and the shop is used to support the orphanage, also the Art School of Spitak.
You know, I’m not exactly trying to reach up to you with heart-breaking, tear-squeezing, heavily depressing stories about orphans, but still…
In 1988 a devastating earthquake took place in Spitak. Many lost their homes, families. How ironic that now children orphans from that city are the ones passing a shed of light, hope, warmness, love to a place that has not experienced an earthquake. It’s ironic, yet it bares a lesson.
As I was walking back home I thought to myself: “Why things that are hidden usually considered as treasures? And are the most important treasures hidden?”
Then I don’t know why, I remembered that I have never visited an orphanage. I don’t know why but whenever I think of orphanages I imagine children standing lonely and quiet. As I reached the end of Koghbatsi Street I turned around and saw a row of old buildings standing there lonely and quiet. Who knows what kind of gas stations, supermarkets they will turn into in the future.
And it occurred to me… it doesn’t matter what or who we abandon, be it a child, an old building or our conscience.
And the solution… the solution, dear friends, is not a hidden treasure; it’s as obvious as it can be.
And the hidden treasure on Koghbatsi Street is yet another reminder that the most important treasures are not hidden for the ones who wish to seek for them.
© Ani Boghossian