Showing posts from August, 2002

Letter 08: Ara ler and Raffi’s 'Khente'

Saturday, August 31, 2002

We went with the Habitat project to a small village on Ara ler, above Ashtarak , to help a family insulate the roof over their house. We spent the whole day working with the family and they prepared a great happy meal for us which we ate outdoors. It was tiring but pleasant.
On the way back, we visited the Church in Oshakan. It is the church where St. Mesrop Mashtots (the inventor of the Armenian Alphabet) is buried. It has a special Byzantian style architecture, unlike other Armenian churches I have seen so far. Oshakan is a stone’s throw from Etchmiadzin, the seat of the Armenian Katoghikos, and was an ancient pagan city. People living there often find old pagan statues whenever they undertake an excavation.

Sunday, September 01, 2002

I went with Badal to Saralandj, a small village on Ara Ler (King Ara Keghetsig’s mountain). On the way, we stopped in Ara Kyough, where Badal pointed to me a bust statue of “Khente”, see photo.
The inscription on the pedestal…

Letter 07: Are you sick of our dug-out sidewalks?

Dear Repats:

Are you sick of our dug-out sidewalks?
You can now do something about it
1) log-in to Antoine’s column at and send a message to Kirk Krikorian to fire his project manager in Yerevan, or give the forum a piece of your mind;
2) Get a shoe shine:
· On Abovian near Artbridge (between Toumanian & Sayat-Nova);
· Mornings between 9:00 and sunset;
· Regular leather shoes (black & brown) for now ;
· 150 drams (exact change please) – tipping is welcome; If shoe has to be taken-off foot 200 drs
· you can take photos, he is a “Babig” his name is Zhoura. Please put up with him and help him with his training period..

If you know of an unemployed person interested to continue this job, contact me. The shoeshine box maker is already churning the second unit!
This project idea is designed to get the shoe-shine business back on the streets of Yerevan: a) to fill a tourist need; b) to create jobs for needy people as an alternative to begging; c) …

Letter 06: A Sound and Light Show in Gumri

Saturday, August 17, 2002

I have been very busy and did not have time to write, but I had a delightful week. Great project ideas and meetings with such exciting people, Armenians, young and young at heart. I will share with you my impressions of a visit to Kyumri (sometimes written Gyumri or Gumri).

Kyumri used to be Armenia’s second largest city before it was destroyed by the earthquake of December 1988, for which we have collected money in Ottawa and across Canada. If you remember, the Soviets had called it Leninakan then, changing the name from Alexandropol, which was given to the city by the imperial Russians. It is now called Kyumri again, but was historically called Ko-Mayri, in memory of some famous words pronounced in battle by Prince Vahram Pakhlavouni (Պախլավունի), in 1047, before the fall of Ani (80 kms away) to Alp Arslan’s Seljouk Turks. Prince Pakhlavouni, although very brave (he died sword-in-hand in that battle together with his son Krikor), did not use very polite wo…