Journey to Armenia: Day 2

This day was dedicated to visiting some families living in poverty who get assistance from the World Vision ADP program.

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The first family (seen in the photo above) that welcomed us was a mother (Aida) and father (Vladimir) of seven children all under the ages of seven living in a very tiny home. All of the children are Registered Children (RC), but only one of them is very recently sponsored. They live in very poor conditions, with their electricity recently being turned off due to non-payment, so it was very, very cold in the house. The father currently works caring for animals in the village, but the wage is hardly enough to support the $43 a month the family needs for rent, so they are often late in paying. Their landlord has been threatening to put the family out of the home.

I didn’t see despair in their eyes, though. Aida absolutely adored her children. One of her sons would not let her put him down and just kept loving on her with hugs and kisses. The baby happily played in her second-hand walker, laughing and smiling. Hope wasn’t completely lost here, despite the harsh circumstances.

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We were able to give the family some good news during our visit. World Vision let them know that they would be covering a month (plus some credit for the next month) of electricity for the home and also gave the children new knitted sweaters and hats. To see the children get SO excited about sweaters and hats in some ways broke my heart, as it should be something all children should have the right to.

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The next family consisted of a mother (Margarita), father (Gegham) and two sons (Tigran & Narek). Their home was in better shape (a family home from the Soviet era) than the first and much warmer, with a hot stove burning in the first room we entered. You could tell that Margarita took great pride in her home as dishes were carefully stacked, the floors clean and the children well-kept. However, this family was not free from hardships.

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Their oldest son Tigran, now 7, has had medical issues since the age of 2 when Margarita noticed that his right foot was not functioning properly. Over time, his right foot and right hand have slowly stopped working properly and he has had to learn to write with his left hand, which is very frustrating for him. His disease is unknown at this point, as he has not had an official diagnosis from a hospital or clinic. The local clinics will not take him and though the hospital in Yerevan kept him for 20 days, the family had to head back home to care for their younger son, Narek who had developed a respiratory issue during his brother’s hospital stay.

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Gegham, the father, is a very hard worker. He even rented a tractor last spring and made a healthy profit off of it that the family is still living off of, but he has still needed to borrow money from others to help with his Tigran’s medical treatments. Tigran’s health issues have impacted him the most, as he feels that he cannot get ahead of the costs that come with the treatments he needs. His demeanor was quiet, sad and sullen, which was absolutely heartbreaking.

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I’ll be back with Day 3 next Thursday.

A big thank you to World Vision for sponsoring my travel, accommodations and meals during my trip to Armenia.