Michael and I have now been in Armenia for just ten days. At the end of the first week in the office I honestly thought we’d been here for a month and praised God for the number of people we had seen and spoken to and helped in a month – until I realised its been a week only. Dear blog readers, you are partners with us in this work, we are a team. I want you also to praise God and go about your day with joyful hearts as to how many families and individuals have been helped in the last few days. All the folding beds, duvets, sleeping bags have all been distributed, most of the towels and warm blankets that came in the December container likewise.
Vartouhi dadig (grandma) came into the office on Friday completely dressed in black with even a head covered in black. Her demeanour, her clothes, the sadness in her eyes, the way she walked made her look about 75 years old but it turned out she was just over 60. She came slowly to my desk and with difficulty took a photo out of her handbag and put it on my desk. The photo was of a soldier in his 40s. She said “My son” and started crying. She had lost her husband and her firstborn son in these dreadful wars and then all of her possessions and home. I asked her where she is living now. She is living with her second son, wife and grandchildren in a small flat in the city. They are paying a rent that they cannot really afford and may be put out of that place soon. She told us that they fled with nothing. She sleeps on the floor. We were able to help her with food and a folding bed. When she saw the folding bed she was so excited but then her face fell. “I can’t take that” she said “I cannot carry it to the bus.” I said “That’s OK grandma, lets call a taxi.” Her face fell again. I said “Can you not afford a taxi?” It would cost £1.80. She took the equivalent of 50p out of her pocket and held it out to me on a shaking hand. “This is how much I have” she said. The need of these people is literally overwhelming at times.
Gor and Nona came in as always after the office had shut. They like to come in when its only Michael and I here and to be honest it’s a good thing as Gor is highly nervous and anxious still after the war. He is a war hero and rescued many lads when the lands were taken and the Armenian soldiers had escaped into the forests. Many of the young conscripts would have died had it not been for these heroic older soldiers (in their 30s) who went in and searched for the young frightened conscripts. Gor personally carried out many injured and maimed and those images constantly haunt him. When he talks of these things his hands start shaking and he gets angry and anxious. He can then get very aggressive and lash out or have sudden bleeding from his nose, eyes and ears. He feels this moments coming on and locks himself in his room so that he doesn’t cause any harm to his wife or children, who all absolutely adore their father. One of the children is sadly very ill with a heart condition and the family have that worry on top of father’s health, the loss of many of their soldier friends, and the loss of their family home. They are now living in utter poverty in a small rented room in the village near our campsite. For three months now AM has paid their house rent and also purchased the medicines necessary for Gor’s nerves. When he came in yesterday I was pleased to see that his hands were shaking less although there were a few times nevertheless that he shouted so loud that even I got frightened. I’m glad they visit out of office hours!
Gevork and Hovig have been distributing wood all week – just in time for all the snow!!