The days repeat like an endless Moebius band: COVID, epidemic, mask, in general, protective measures, coronavirus tests conducted, atypical pneumonia, they receive treatment, online system, pandemic, watch the second wave of the virus on the first channel, keep your distance, it’s preferable to isolate, to stay away, to separate, to part, isolated, shut off, shutdown, disconnection, insulating, turn off the light, mom!..
– What are you thinking about? Hey, Eva?
– don’t know, I want not to think.
– What do you want not to think about?
– All this. Situation. Pandemic. Adaptability. Fear.
– What are you most afraid of?
– Loneliness. That a person adjusts to everything, loneliness can become normal and we can adapt to it as well. I’m afraid of that.
– Try to think that loneliness is temporary. People can’t do without each other. People always need a mirror and always will. As the saying goes in “Solaris”, man needs man. Would you like to watch the movie together?
– So sleep, my Solar.
– And what does that word mean?
– It’s from the word “sun”, meaning solar.
Gagik Harutyunyan, 11 years old
There were nights when I didn’t sleep thinking that coronavirus will infect us, my family, it made me uncomfortable because my aunt’s family got infected and was hospitalized. When my mother called and asked how they felt, they told they were getting better little by little. So I was less afraid. Then they recovered and none of my friends or relatives got infected, so I became less afraid of the coronavirus.
When they said we won’t go to school, I was happy for a moment as during summer holidays because I thought my friends would all go down to the yard, we would play with each other but it didn’t happen, everyone was doing homework at home.
We were choosing a special hour to go down to the yard. When my friend Taron went to the yard I would wait for him to play, go home, and then I would go down to play. And so, our neighbors were watching from the window, waiting for their turn not to pass. We had the good fortune: we have a dog, and Grandma used to go for a walk in the city with Mickey, and we went for a walk in the evening.
One day, during the quarantine, my mother said to my grandmother and to my grandfather:
– Today we are going out of town.
My grandma was surprised but she didn’t say anything. Mom gathered us all in one room and we did not leave the room for a whole day, we talked, we played, we read books, as if we were out of town so that grandma and grandpa could get some rest.
There was a box where our hamster lived. I took that box and emptied the husk from it, made DJ decks with bottle caps and toilet paper. I also cut tickets out of papers, turned the loudspeaker on with my mom’s Wi-Fi, and my mom, dad, brother and sister got dressed and came to dance at our disco in the enclosed balcony. It made a mood, you know, and my brother kept the light on my face with a flashlight, and I imagined myself a famous DJ.
Mary Avetisyan, 14 years old
I wasn’t afraid for myself, but more for other people and members of my family, because, I don’t know, they also have chronic illnesses, right? It’s more dangerous forthem, than for us. That’s why I maintained hygiene more for them than for myself.
The number of my friends I had remains the same, it didn’t decrease. We got closer with our classmates because we were constantly talking to each other about online lessons, discussing that we have to send some links to each other, and besides, we were talking about other topics as well, so we got closer.
I started painting more during quarantine, I don’t know, I had the time. I felt more freebecause we had no homework to do. And also when you do your homework, you have to sit until 12 o’clock at night, there is no time left for painting.
The teachers were calmer during online lessons than they had been during the real lessons because the kids couldn’t do mischiefs as when sitting next to each other. They couldn’t, for example, talk to each other, laugh, pass things to each other.
I dream of visiting different countries but since the roads are closed, you can no longer dream. I would go to Italy, where there are famous buildings and many pictures.
I wish people would change after the coronavirus. If it were possible to change their qualities, I wish there was no jealousy or no insincere communication between them.
Levon Avetisyan, 15 years old
First it was scary for me, I thought that’s it, the whole world will disappear soon. But then people started to recover gradually, and my anxiety diminished little by little. The good thing was that the schools closed, we didn’t have exams, that was good. But online lessons also had their difficulties, you still had to get up at seven o’clock in the morning, it was the same thing as in school. I got a lot of high marks during online classes, there was just a little injustice that the marks you got weren’t recorded in the class register. I don’t know why.
A lot has changed in my life. I started to maintain hygiene more. Now I wash my hands all the time. When I went to classes or when we went out with my family, we would come home and shower in turns.
I was more afraid for the others that’s why I stayed at home mainly, I didn’t go out, I was communicating with my friends on the phone or using the Internet. But communication between us decreased. It’s a bit difficult to explain. Now we have started to get back on track. Well, when you communicate with someone in real life, the communication is natural. And online communication is artificial, it’s not pleasant.
It was during quarantine that I learned a lot. I learned what I was interested in, for example, I got deeper into technology and learned a lot of things. During that time I had two computers that were not working, I was disassembling and assembling them, that’s what I was busy with. I have already repaired my aunt’s computer, for example.
I think the world will change for the better after the coronavirus. I don’t know why, but I think so. In my opinion, people will correct their mistakes, they will think about their shortcomings. Mankind will definitely reconsider its medical errors, it already has that experience.
Lika Karakhanyan, 16 years old
I had the impression that I was like a mouse in a cage, and I was suffocating in the apartment. The quarantine started in March-April, right? I was just sitting under a blanket and didn’t know what to do. It was hard for me to believe that I had nowhere to go. You realize that there can be a situation where we won’t exist anymore, like in history, books, or movies. It was very scary to imagine that.
I started gaining weight due to stress. The desire to do something was completely lost.
I always thought I could make friends, and I thought I had a lot of them, but at the end there were only four people left, and I don’t regret it. The wish to communicate was lost because of the quarantine. My table became the most desirable place for me. I was just hiding under it and trying not to look anywhere. The curtains, the windows, the doors, everything was closed.
But, at the same time, I used every opportunity to go to the store and buy bread, just to get out of the house. To take out the trash? With great pleasure!
It’s like this: if I want to sit at home, no one can take me out, I will stay home forever, but if I’m locked up forcibly, oh my God, how I want to go out!
The teachers were extremely nervous because of going online, everyone was angry because a lot of things became uncontrollable, nobody understood anything: someone wanted to go out, someone wanted to come in, it was physically challenging and unusual. For example, if I was taught from the day I was born that I could isolate myself and take online classes, I would take it easy. But to sit like this for about three or four months… It was difficult.
I liked self-isolation more during this time. At night I wait for my mom to sleep so that I can go out on the balcony and feel that I’m alone, I feel calm then.
I have problems because of being communicative. I have a Slavic appearance, it attracts attention in Armenia, people strive to communicate with me. I was socializing with different guys from parallel classes because I could not find a common language with my classmates. They considered me an object who was beyond their imagination, who hindered them. I’m a girl who wears jeans and big shirts and communicates with boys, who is able to defend herself, who can hit someone who hurts her in the face. Such things are not forgiven generally. It’s more common for girls to sit like a doll and whine than to solve their problems on their own.
It’s funny but I have got complexes because of that. I was afraid to wear something tight so that I wouldn’t attract attention suddenly, just not to arouse fear of competition among my classmates. I even dreamed of disfiguring my face so that they would stop talking about me. During these months I was away from the accusatory glances and felt that I was gradually overcoming my shame and my desire to hide. I started experimenting: I dyed my hair dark, I did a piercing, I started sewing, making pendants and bracelets… Gradually I found a new style that allowed me to feel more at ease.
Ani Baroyan, 13 years old
Frankly speaking, when it all started, I was very curious because it was something new for all of us, we didn’t know what was going to happen. I was wondering how all this would end, and if it would end. When the lessons went online we didn’t take it seriously, but not only us, online lessons were unusual for everyone. We were not ready to study the same way, we were skiving. But if at first there was interest, that way of studying was unusual, and in the process, when they started to extend the quarantine, that interest disappeared too. When you don’t leave the house, don’t participate in festivals and events, when you don’t have new impressions, everything becomes boring.
But there were benefits, too: while staying at home, I discovered new things in me and found new hobbies – dancing, music, movies, I also started painting portraits, and it became my hobby, and if there was no quarantine, I wouldn’t definitely discover this ability.
It was very enjoyable when we went hiking after a long sedentary lifestyle, I had never been to such places, I’m very impressed with the atmosphere and how we reached our destination on our own.
Anyway, a lot has changed, I stopped communicating with many people, but it was not hard for me because I had already found my interests. Isolation had a profound effect on all of us, physically and mentally. There have always been groups in our class, but now everyone missed each other so much that they socialize equally.
The mom of one of my classmates is a doctor, and she got infected while treating the patients. I can imagine how difficult it was for my classmate. If I hadn’t seen my mother for days who would have stayed in the hospital to save the lives of others, if she wouldn’t have come home and I would not know how she was, what could possibly happen to her, if I couldn’t be with her, communicate with her and see her, I would have taken it very hard.
The good thing is that the planet was cleansed, calmed down, the waste was reduced, the bad thing is that people were dying. But it’s as interesting as it’s bad, I love disaster movies where the world is falling apart.
Most of the time we didn’t have time to think about life, but when everything stopped we started to find positive things in our lives.
Manuk Baroyan, 11 years old
During the quarantine I always left the house, I didn’t communicate with anyone but I went out for a walk, I went to class. Our karate lessons were moved from the school hall to the nearest park. I liked training outside more, I felt more free. Sport helped me not to focus on these problems, I took many things more easy. During the quarantine, many people limited their actions, began to think more slowly, but I, on the contrary, began to orientate faster, to think faster. I adapted very quickly to the situation, I adapted to the quarantine very quickly as well and at that time I did not take many things seriously, that’s why I took many things easier. My interests haven’t changed: what I do satisfies me – cello, math, karate, programming.
Hayk Baroyan, 8 years old
I felt free and happy when I learned that we would stay at home. But online lessons were fun because it was cooler at home than in the classroom and there was no break. I liked it online but I missed school a bit because I could not see my friends. I want the coronavirus to end soon so that our old viruses can come back.
Feelings of anxiety intensified in conditions of isolation and social distancing.
Children’s interest in studying decreased.
Internet addiction forced them to give up social life.
Many teenagers don’t want to leave the house even if they’re allowed to.
As of December 21, 6358 children under the age of 18 have been diagnosed with coronavirus in the Republic of Armenia.
The publication was prepared in the framework of “Strengthening Independent Media in Europe and Eurasia” project implemented by Media Initiatives Center, with the financial support of Internews.