A four-month keep in Armenia and expertise life just like the locals: this was the preliminary intention of Erfan Falahi when he got here to Armenia. Similarities between Armenian and Iranian cultures, the warfare in Artsakh, kind-hearted locals and new ventures are a few of the causes that turned the four-month keep into an indefinite one.
Born to Persian dad and mom in Iran, Falahi grew up in Isfahan the place the juxtaposition of Persian and Armenian tradition created a wealthy historic narrative. He made many Armenian buddies rising up and have become acquainted with Armenian tradition. He studied graphic design in highschool in his hometown after which industrial design on the College of Berlin, Germany.
When the borders shut down with the outbreak of the worldwide pandemic in 2020, Falahi’s buddies compelled him to think about visiting Armenia. Armenia was one of many locations that had open borders with Iran at the moment. Falahi was amazed by the similarities between Armenians and Iranians without delay. Their real hospitality, liveliness and love for all times, which have been so resonant in Armenia earlier than the 44-day warfare in 2020, left a deep impression on him. “It was friendlier than what I had thought. There’s an affectionate coronary heart hidden behind their seriousness and chilly look. Armenia looks like house but with out all of the restrictions that we face in Iran,” he stated.
The warfare broke out 10 days after his arrival—an incident that got here as no shock to him as he had all the time been conscious of the geopolitical modifications within the area. He joined his Armenian buddies and helped in any method he may all through the warfare. He adopted the information, posted info on social media and wrote articles to lift consciousness. Educated in first help, he tried, and sadly failed, to acquire permission to deal with the wounded. That setback didn’t cease him from gathering humanitarian help. He donated blood for the very first time and constructed sturdy bonds with many households impacted by the warfare.
“One may concentrate on the atrocities occurring in numerous components of the world and ship humanitarian help, however witnessing what warfare did was the rationale that made me keep in Armenia,” he stated.
Difficult at the beginning, he realized the language rapidly and now he has passable verbal and written expertise in Armenian. The economic designer has had totally different jobs since his first day within the nation. He regrets that there’s little demand for industrial designers in Armenia. Nevertheless, he appreciates the alternatives to study new expertise. After working as a tour information, a international language trainer and a dispatcher, he determined to affix Armenian Volunteers Corps to focus extra on charity work. Based in 2000, Armenian Volunteer Corps gives volunteering and internship alternatives in quite a lot of sectors in Armenia. Furthermore, it supplies homestays and logistical help in order that contributors of various nationalities can have seamless integration into Armenian society. For the reason that begin of his volunteering program, Falahi has designed logos for the Embassy of Artsakh, taught English at Armath and photographed for Birthright Armenia and the Armenian Volunteer Corps. He cherishes the time he has needed to join extra with the Armenian tradition as a lot as the prospect to satisfy volunteers who be a part of this system from totally different nations.
Throughout an tour with Birthright Armenia whereas capturing random moments, his consideration was drawn to an aged native. The tatik was having fun with the presence of the guests in her village when Falahi took an image of her. By no means lacking an opportunity to have conversations with locals, he approached her. After a couple of minutes of small speak, the tatik’s son appeared with a wood field for Falahi. He was overwhelmed with emotion when he seen the unique carvings by the younger man. “It’s all concerning the folks I meet. Locals are the strings that may ceaselessly connect me to Armenia,” he stated.
Falahi plans to remain in Armenia indefinitely. “I imagine Armenia is usually a potential nation the place you may construct your future regardless of all of the financial and geopolitical points. I have no idea the place my life will take me sooner or later and the place I’ll ultimately settle sometime. However I undoubtedly know I wish to do extra on this nation.” Shocked by how little Armenians and Iranians learn about one another, he needs to construct a powerful bridge between Iran and Armenia sooner or later. The locals’ picture of Iran surprises him. “I would love to… present them how lovely my nation is. They will expertise the sudden there: historical past, tradition, modernity and extra.”