Sunday, January 07, 2007


Our project Hand-To-Hand was a great success!!!

Yesterday at Noon, Father Christmas and his helpers rolled into the village of Haygazyan and spread joy to 26 very deserving children. What an incredible moment, all caught on video and pictures. If we only accomplished this much, Hand-to-Hand could have been considered a success.

Our whole crew made their way down to Pasha’s house with Father Christmas, as the family of 11 children could not all make their way up to the school where the gifts were delivered, so of course Father Christmas went to them to spread the joy he is so famous for spreading.

After Pasha’s house, we made our way to the neighboring village of Hale, where we visited a few houses to deliver monetary aid. It was quite a moment and a real eye-opener for Santa’s helpers, who consisted of 13 people from Martuni, 2 from Shushi and one from Stepanagert.

I have to tell you that I’ve never seen such extremes. Those that have people living abroad and are receiving a little bit of help actually have semi-comfortable living conditions. Those that don’t, really do live in extreme poverty. For those of you who don’t believe that extreme poverty exists in Armenia, I invite you to see for yourself that it really does and I hope that as soon as I have a decent internet connection, I can download some video.

One family we visited live is what I would call a room that you would not keep animals in. They have a mentally challenged son who is I’m guessing 13 years old. The family of 4 live in this maybe 10 foot by 12 foot room with a door and a window that is covered in plastic. The walls and ceiling are covered in soot and the floor is dirt. Really deplorable. And on top of this, like all of Hale and Haygazyan has no electricity.

Oh and one thing I would like to add is that our plan for bring in electrical generators failed. We looked high and low for them in Yerevan, but found that such a quantity of generators does not exist and we would have to order them. So we went back to our original plan of giving each family $130, which with the advice of the President of Parliament, we exchanged the money to Dram (Armenian currency) as exchanging dollars where the people we are helping are found is a very challenging task.

I’m not going to drag this log out since there really is so much to write, but will say that the feast we had during and after our work was to die for. It was our crew and most of the village in one large room. We all sat together and shared a meal to celebrate the birth of Christ. The toasts were right on the money and everyone was having a grand time. After the singing and dancing, we made our way to our cars and headed back towards Martuni.

Today I’m in Stepanagert where my Monday meeting with the government has been changed to today. It seems that with the holiday and everyone being off for so many days from work, this Sunday is a work day.

Armen the Mayor of Haygazyan will be joining me in the meeting we will have with the government to discuss the electrical situation and let the government present their plan and see where we will have to pick up the slack.

The people of Haygazyan and Hale on video send their many many many thanks to all those that participated in this noble work. I hope in the next couple of weeks I can put together a video presentation with subtitles to send to all the donors so they can see with their own eyes and proudly share with their friends what they have done to help some very deserving people in our liberated territories.

Shnorhavor Sourp Tzenoont to all.

And for those of you who still want to help out, this project will continue for the whole year, so please read about our project and make your donation.

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