Wednesday, July 16, 2008


So to continue my description of village life let me talk about our
neighbors for just a little while. We live along what used to be the
main road of the village 15 years ago just down from the school two
houses before the river which bisects the village in the opposite
direction thus marking the center of the old village.
Lets start at this cross, on our side of the road, working to the
school, we have Anoosh (which is really a girls name but short for his
real name), he, his wife and daughter tend the "neighborhood store."
They have two cars, and about 15 cows, he employs a handful of his
friends and neighbors in construction projects in neighboring
villages. They are one of the "richest" families in the village.
Next we have Satenik, who is a widow only after a few years of
marriage and she is 82 years old, her only sibling, died serving in
WWII and she lives in a metal shipping container next to us. She
really doesn't have any relatives and the weeds in the yard that she
just harvested plus a Social Security type payment, are her only
sources of income. The other neighbors really help her out as much as
they can, from what I can tell.
Special note, below Satenik off of the main road lives Vaho and Rita,
and their two sons (who are in Russia working, Edgar is one of them).
They truly are the most genuine family, and we really enjoy their
company. I can go on and on about how great they are but I would
rather complain about the next couple of neighbors a little more.
Next to us is Ashot and Zoghe, they have two daughters married with
children one living in the village and the other in a different
village outside of Gyumri, their only son is serving in the Army for
one more year, Ashots mother, Araks Tat, also lives with them. If our
house was "house 1" to be remodeled theirs is "house 2", and with no
one else really around I am over a lot helping Ashot. He works as a
railway tunnel guard, 24 hour shifts about every 4th day, he and about
20 others from the village are employed to make sure no one blows up
the train tunnel, not a real exciting job. Ashot was a "rich kid"
growing up when the earthquake destroyed all that his father had left
him he like many others fell apart and turned to drinking, and has not
stopped since. Ashot is a drunk and is drunk most of the time. In
Armenia you aren't really considered a drunk unless you are drinking
alone, so as long as all of his drunk buddies are drinking with him it
is okay to consume over a liter of Vodka every day. When Ashot is
craving a drink and no one else is around he will try to stop what
ever I am doing and say lets eat. It didn't take long to realize that
eating equals drinking every time, a person really doesn't say come on
lets have a drink. Ashot is really pretty incapable initiating any
project on the house, he can bring tools and buckets of water and mix
concrete, and carry rocks, that is about it. Zoghe works as hard if
not harder than most other village women, cooking, cleaning, and
tending the animals and potato fields. Today Zoghe and Araxs Tat,
both washed up, and changed their clothes. This was the first time in
over a month that we have been here that Arax tat changed her clothes.
"House 3" is next and it is Ishkan and Aysa, and their three sons
( Jirar, Hamayak, and Hapersoom), two of whom are married, and they
have two grandsons, David and Garen. Ishkan lost is right arm working
on the trains, Jirar was born with something that makes him a little
slower and awkward, but still very sharp, and Hamayak lost his left
leg below the knee during the earthquake 17 years ago. If Ishkan
isn't over my shoulder talking and giving advice, or his grandkids
aren't stealing tools and constantly on top of me, I wonder where they
are. Really, David would be on a double dose of Riddalin if he were
in the states. The three women are constantly busy working around of
the house, occasionally we'll see them chasing after the kids, who
don't come when they are called and are often shooed away like dogs by
other adults. Jirar takes the families 11 cows out with the other
cows 11 days a month, Hmayak works construction 8 hours out side of
the village in Karaghbagh, and Hamparsoom, works repairing the rail
line. These guys are very capable of working and are doing a great
job on the house. They are very conservative Christians who don't
drink, smoke, dance or listen to music, (except Hamayak who rebels
against everything).
House 4, and 5 are further away, but I do have an honorable mention,
Sas is about 10 years old but functions more like a 5 year old, he is
over every day all day, he is very obedient but forgets very quickly,
so we find ourselves repeating things over and over for Sas, and David
and Garen (for them because they just don't listen). There are lots
of other neighbor kids that come over, but these three play in our
yard more than our own kids do.
So there you have it, I feel better knowing that you know. Please
pray for patients for us as seek to serve God and be his witness here
in this village.


Keidi said...

Wow!  Sounds like you have quite an ecclectic and interesting bunch surrounding you. Keep the anecdotes coming!! Love to the fam! Keidi

Anthony said...

It's great to get a sense of your surroundings and your day to day life. Also, I just wanted to let you know that I have been reading your blog.

Peace be with you.

Garo Family said...

No doubt we will be praying for patience. We love and miss you.