This is for the little girl in the orphanage


Gayana Parsegova, Opinion Editor

This past summer, I fell in love.


For the first time in my 22 years of life, I felt genuinely alive. I felt my heart beating from the exhilaration of each day. I was addicted to a feeling; I thrived on it; I needed it because of one little girl’s exhilaration for life.

I spent July doing service work and visiting monuments with an organization called Paros this past summer in Armenia. We lived in a three-story house in the neighborhood of Norkmarash, about 15 minutes away from the country’s capital, Yerevan.

The first week there, we spent one of our service days with the local orphanage. As excited as I was to spend the day with children at the local park, I found myself to be overwhelmed with emotion over these children that had absolutely nothing, but still felt happiness in their lives.

One six-year-old girl in particular had stolen my heart. Her name was Hasmik.


When I had met Hasmik, I noticed she was very quiet from the rest of the children. She had no desire to interact with anyone. Curious by this behavior, I decided to approach her myself and befriend her. When I came and sat next to her, she stared at my sunglasses and immediately snatched them off of my face and began laughing. After that, we became best friends.

She only spoke Armenian and, other than a few Armenian phrases, I only spoke Russian. (Both languages are extremely different). She eventually understood this and would tell me something in Armenian while I would respond back in Russian.


The interesting part of this experience was that it felt as if there were no language barrier between us. In some magical sense, we completely understood one another and felt comfortable without knowing each other’s languages.

At one point, she would teach me words in Armenian and wait for me to repeat it. And then I would tell her a phrase in Russian and she would say it back. We learned from one another, and it was simple and beautiful, a connection that I cannot even put into words. Although I only spent a day with her, it felt as if she were the little sister I never had.

Never did I think this girl could move me in the way that she did. A mere child, so young and so pure, whose language I did not speak, who didn’t know her parents and lived in a broken down orphanage, had the most love and joy I had ever seen. She made me look at my own life, re-evaluate all the blessings that I possessed and I couldn’t help but wish I could do more for her to make her life as good as mine.

My hope and prayer is to somehow, someday, cross paths with this little girl again. Never will I forget her energy and love for life.


Although she had nothing, in my eyes she had the most important quality any person could ever possess: an unconditional passion for life.