We are slowly leaving Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. The traces and remains of the former Soviet Union are fading.  There are only nostalgic memories that tell us that the path we are trying so hard to avoid is going the wrong way.  For the last time, we drive through the gray, dark villages and settlements that provide a home for those whose future still lies somewhere in the past.  Maybe just where it should be, maybe just where it should stay, to think about where it got off track. The road ascends to an altitude of 3500 meters. At the top of the pass, we find ourselves in the middle of a cloud.  The lines on the road are no longer visible and there is a huge void around us. It seems that all the cargo we have brought with us, and everything we have picked up along the way, fades more and more until it disappears into the void of nothing.  We are left alone and the world around us is gone. Like a blank sheet of paper, it is waiting to be re-drawn. We descend from the pass into the unknown. We descend to where they tell us not to go. They say it’s dangerous, that this place is not safe for us.  Woe to them who cross from the cloud into the world we fear. A world where this cloud does not offer us shelter, especially from ourselves. The more we descend, the better the visibility. The cloud remains at the top of the mountain and patiently saves all the ballast of those who dare through.  The valley is getting narrower. There is no option to change direction. The landscape is suddenly changing. The colors are turning brown and our imagination begins to paint on a blank sheet of paper. We are only five kilometers away from the Iranian border. Everything we have heard about Iran at home and on the road is flashing before our eyes and trying to convince us not to cross the border. We are coming to Agarak village, the last village in Armenia. We are only a few hundred meters away from the border, which gives us fear. At first glance, the village of Agarak acts as a military base surrounded by mountains. Everywhere are high wire fences, military observatories, and soldiers. But what if they were right when they advised us not to travel to Iran? But what if that place is really as unfriendly as they say?  Everything will be clear tomorrow. We set out to find a place to spend the night. We drive through the village and look for a suitable place. At every turn, we come across a wall or entrance to the Armenian military bases, so we prefer to turn into a settlement, which for the most part provides a home for soldiers and their families. We park the van. We are surrounded by curious faces, which seem very surprised that something is finally happening in front of their homes. The bravest approach. They are especially interested in what the hell we came to sell. We smile and explain that we are not selling anything, we just want to organize a children’s cinema on their platform, which serves as the roof for car garages. It takes a while to explain our purpose, but we don’t have to do anything to spread the news to children. News appear to travel at light speed among children. People start gathering and courious children don’t run out of questions in really incomprehensible English. It’s really nice to hear them talk while using a few English words they learned in school. Given that we travel through unknown countries to learn about them, learn about their way of life, we feel obliged to share the good and the bad about the place we come from. Most of these children do not have the opportunity to travel. By telling them about our hometown, we take them on a journey, even if only for a moment. Just as they are curious about who we are and where we come from, so are we curious about their lives.  When we quell their curiosity, we seize the opportunity, and given that they live far from the cloud that creates empty ideas, prejudices and fears, we ask them how they see the world on the other side of the mountain. Accustomed primarily to warnings and criticism about Iran, the Agarak children were the first to surprise us with the answer. Their opinions are only influenced by their experience and the frequent crossings of the border into the land of “fear and trembling”, where Agarak locals love to go shopping. It’s great in Iran, they say.  They have the best bananas and chocolate in the world, they tell us enthusiastically when they point their finger toward the mountain. The people there are nice and good, they add. First time, that someone shared something positive about Iran, without prejudices, fears, and misconceptions created by the media and those who draw conclusions out of fear of the unknown. This does not interest children. Children are focused on beautiful and positive things. It is the children who dispel our doubts. The previously fear-inspiring border becomes a formality that leads to a land of friendly people, where great bananas and chocolate await us.  With these thoughts, enthusiastically and most of all without fear, we look forward to the next day. Children, however, laugh at cartoons on our humble canvas. Let us also draw something beautiful in their lives and imprint on them a moment that may give them a positive idea of ​​us and the country we come from. They taught us an important lesson. Sharing good and positive is liberating. It frees the fears that children are not infected with, and the ability to recognize the good creates the ability to share good. To those who have mistaken their freedom for the opinions of others and to those who have forgotten what the true taste of bananas and chocolate is.  But we’ll be back from the other side soon. And we’ll be happy to share if bananas and chocolate are really as good as the kids say.

TEXT by Miha Mohorič
GALLERY by Nina Behek