Akhpradzor, Armenia -- Nanor Balabanian
The fact that I am able to access Internet on this remote village is a complete miracle.
It is 7 in the morning and the villagers are still fast asleep. Every morning we wake up to the smell of animals :) It reminds me a little of Anjar, the village i grew up in.
I am sitting on my bed wearing a "harsi kisheranots" (bride's pijama) that my host family insisted I wear. They apparently bought it 30 years ago from a French vendor. It is obviously very precious to them.
As I look through the window on my right, I see the cows, the sheep, the farms, the barns, and the fields...
On my left, the principal, the dadig (grandma), and the young girl are fast asleep on the floor. We are all sharing one big room with very old walls, covered in rugs.
The dadig sometimes wakes up at night and cries in pain. Her legs are very very fragile and she has no cure for her sickness. It is truly a hard sight to bear.
Next to our room is the family barn. We have several cows and many chickens. There may have been more animals but I couldn't see last night. The reason I was at the barn last night is because that's where i had to go to use the bathroom. Yes, that right. Everything's "organic" here.
In the other house, our 3 good friends Astkhik Hakobyan and her mother, and Alexandra Basmadjian are fast asleep. They are loving this village as much as I am.
Tomorrow we may go learn how to milk cows! We all have a bucket list we want to complete during these 2 weeks: Milk cows, follow the shepherd through the hills, learn how to make yogurt and cheese, water the plants they grow, clean the grass fields, etc...
Life is so different here, but so beautiful!
It is completely silent, except for the voices of nature. Pure. Silent. Calm.
Today will be our first day to run a camp for the children of Akhpradzor. Yesterday they all came to school and met some of our YSIP (Yerevan Summer Internship Program) interns who also ran a 2 hour camp for them. The children went absolutely nuts! From face painting, to English classes, to sports, to medicine.. the kids had many classes to go to. The YSIP interns were amazing and it was sad to see them leave.
Any driver that comes to this village however, vows to never drive here again. The road is so awful that it ruins any automobile that gets here. It is amazing to believe how these villagers can not leave their village for 6 months every year.
Something really interesting happened yesterday. From Yerevan, our wonderful Anna let us borrow the AGBU projector for our classes during these 2 weeks. When I hooked up the projector yesterday to show the students the video that the NSLC students had made, the entire village was absolutely amazed.
I don't think they had ever seen anything on a big screen and they all gathered around, mouths open, staring at the wall! They absolutely loved the video! I also showed them the video we had prepared about their life 2 years ago. The children were so amazed to see themselves on the big screen. In fact most of them got very shy...
Thank you to everyone who contributed towards our video! The principal, teachers, parents and villagers were all in awe, they are very grateful to know that people in the world actually care about them.
Delav (okay) time to start preparing for our camp. Sending you all so much love!!
BAAAAA (as the sheep say it) :)