08:00 20/05/2019

Geghasar housewives, tractors and idlers

Stories of four women from Geghasar village of northern Armenia

Armine

“I am the housewife and this is my husband, Armen, my mother-in law is right there speaking to your friends. She was the one who liked me first. I was travelling by train with my father when I met my future mother-in law. We sat next to her and chatted all the way. I wore a long dress and used to keep long hair. I have never wore trousers, and never cut my hair, never groomed brows as I prefer everything natural. She liked me, said she had a son soon to be married, asked about the place of my living, yet didn’t voice about her intention. One day, somebody knocked on our door, and as it turned out the guests arrived for the purpose of matchmaking. My mother opposed first then changed her mind. I fell into love. As there were no other guys in the village, I thought he was my fate. It happened 16 years ago. My twin daughters will turn 16 soon. One thing I know for certain is marriage will come sooner or later yet daughters should study, graduate, find a job first. This little boy is my son Karen. He is straight-A student at school. I wish he becomes a doctor to cure his mom. I have goiter and leg pain,” Armine shared some of her worries, including the fact she lived with husband and her three children in a shack.

She next told that the adjacent land was cultivated by her and daughters. There are not engaged with cattle breeding due to absence of a cattle shed. Her husband does not leave for migrant work yet has no permanent job. Asked how they live, she replied: “Somehow,” taking out the baked bread from the smoldering oven and offering us.

The family receives state subsidy which however doesn’t cover all the expenses. They have no choice of moving from the shack. They received a house where the family of her husband lives and they moved to another place. Having own land, they are unable to cultivate as it is far.

The head of the community Varazdat Grigoryan says earlier the problem was not the case as Soviet collective farms and tractor parks operated throughout the village. In these days the land is cultivated by individuals while the agricultural machinery belongs to the private sector the individual farmers are often unable to agree with over the renting price.

As a result of the fact the lands are not cultivated, the people are left to poverty and jobless. Some 700 people reside in Geghasar village, while the total number of residents according to the registrar book is 932. 69 students are enrolled in the local school with five first-graders. There is no kindergarten. Over the past two years, couple of enterprises were established specialized in milk processing and stone production. 90 per cent of the male population of the village leave for other countries for employment. The total budget of the village is 21 million AMD, (around 44,000 USD) 15.7million of which is a state allocation, the rest is from local taxes. Women are the only labor force in summers and ….the tractors.

“They are lazy. A villager can make his bread if they work. That is the main difficulty as people have become lazier,” former village mayor says,

I wonder who have become lazier – the men who leave for other countries in search of jobs, their old parents, wives and children or villagers do not want to run a village lifestyle anymore? The state subsidies and the Remittances from migrants have made the residents of the village to leave their daily rhythm and abandon the land. Couples are leaving for abroad in searches of jobs and the children, elderly and housewives are the only ones to stay and act as workforce.

Arpine

“ When it comes to haying, no difference between men and women. We are doing everything for our husbands. From early morning we milk cows, take care around the herd, do the chores, cultivate the land. In the evenings we help children with classes and other home duties. That is perhaps the reason we have no places of entertainment in the village as everyone gets tired after the long the volume of work we do every day. If we are called lazy then, I have no comment. Let them calls us idlers,” Arpine, another housewife expecting a baby, told us.

I couldn’t resist to ask whether they are not offended when husbands leave them. “Is getting offended a way out? How will we live in winter? The life in the villages are hard,” noted Arpine.

Arpine’s husband, Hovhannes shares with his upcoming plans to leave for abroad work and wanted like to take Arpine with him. However, living conditions when around 30-40 men live in one apartment do not allow him to take her. In his words, he could stay in the motherland if could find a job with a salary of 150 thousand AMD (around 350 USD). Asked about homesickness, they both smiled: “We will try to go without it.”

Anahit

“All the stories you learn from our fellow villagers should be multiplied by two in order to understand the hardships single mothers and divorced women face here. I was 4 when my father died. I wasn’t quite good at studying and have neither specialization nor a job. I have a daughter who is luckless for a having a mother like me. I have no idea what next the destiny has prepared form me as I can no longer afford looking for help from my mother and brother. Every time my child comes home telling stories about classmates buying or having this or that. I do not want her to feel disadvantaged. Neither blame on her father. His parents shouldn’t have married him knowing about his mental illness. I lived as a prisoner for eight years in their house and then fled to finally get rid of them. There are no stores either in the village to go and ask for a job. The service is the only sector I can look into and find a job. I simply tant to work and bring up my child with still no idea about the future coming,” Anahit, the third woman we met in the village, desperately shared her daily hardships and wiped tears as the daughter approached.

The only way out for Anahit is leaving the village, finding an apartment and job in a town for proper living.

After talking to other villagers, I got why the village mayor who had governed for 18 years was constantly saying in Russian”. ”My goddess, where am I getting into?”

Some anonymous interlocutors complained about the state subsidies. “The subsidies provided to families in need are eliminated. No one complains about that out of fear they will be deprived of that small assistance should they voice the problem. The amounts are sent from the Central Bank to the Governor’s Office and when people go to receive their monthly assistance, they discovered marks “NP - Not Pay” in front of their names in the lists. People are poor but there is always a reason to say they are not in need. The most ridiculous and equally hard is when you think who get those amounts. The change of power is another problem as previously we could solve the matter through doing a favor to someone, while today they neither take money, nor do anything.”

Varsik

“My husband has not left for abroad employment for 8 years. In the early period of our marriage I was dreaming he stayed with me but not at the expense of what we have now. He got disability with a head trauma. Wherever we applied for discounts for the medicine he needs we are rejected. We pay for medicine around 40 thousand AMD (around 90 USD) monthly, while the state subsidy comprises 35 thousand AMD and the pensions is 25 thousand. If we do not receive assistance from parents, the amount will not suffice to pay even for the utility services. The state should have provided the medicine,” Varsik, the fourth woman we met told us her story.

“Needless to speak of that, I am the pensioner and the one you takes the medicine. That is our personal matter,” Varsik’s husband interrupted the wife, turned to me and said: “If you are going to raise our voice, please, write about the water issue. The situations is really troublesome with both the irrigation and drinking water. Three rivers are flowing through Lori region, and so why do we have this issue with the water? We even pay more for the water then the nearby villages. Authorities collect taxes from whatever they want – land, mountain, stone, let them repair the roads, do something for this village.”

I asked whether they plan to leave the village. The response was” “No, dear, we can’t leave this village, and the country alike for now at least. We have two boys who should go to army We have a debt to the motherland. We simply want them to pay more attention to the village, as we want to live a normal life,” Varsik said.

Speaking of the village streets, the mayor said: “The government allocated 6 million AMD last year to repair the roads. The only solution seems is the asphalt and we try to somehow solve the matter.” In his words, the issue of the drinking water is a priority which has not been addressed for years. Additionally, the lack of irrigation water damages the village as a result of which large portions of lands are not cultivated. The village is not involved in any state programme due to lack of available funds, yet the repair of the water pipe and the main road leading to the village are to be repaired. The total cost of the project is 25 million with two million to be provided from the village budget,” the village mayor explained.

As to the increased price for the water, Varazdat Grigoryan said unlike other villages they use water from a pumping station with the service including the electricity cost. They use only 30 per cent of the available water resources. The whole village is waiting for the reconstruction of the supply system.

As to us, we are looking for the Government to present meaningful strategy for the development of the villages likewise the residents to realize what is expected from them as no one will gift a better life to them unless they make the first step toward it, accept that miracles do not happen in a short period. Tomorrow’s better life is created through a meaningful and right work being done today. The reason for poverty may indeed lie in people’s heads and explained by the fact that villagers are gradually distancing themselves from daily works and live with hopes for a state support. The same, however, is not true with all-around poverty which comes to be a sign of a system problem. Systems should be changed, and the matter here is not about individuals either at the top or at the bottom.

 







Source Panorama.am
Share |
Տեքստում սխալ կամ վրիպակ նկատելու դեպքում, ուղարկեք խմբագրին հաղորդագրություն` նշելով տվյալ սխալը, այնուհետև սեղմելով Ctrl-Enter:

Newsfeed

18:03
New hope for one of world's most endangered reptiles
Baby crocodiles found living in a remote region of Nepal give hope for the future of one of the rarest and strangest reptiles on earth. With...
17:45
Armenian architecture film wins competition to design summer cinema in Moscow
Armenian architecture firm SNKH has won a competition to design the next Garage Screen summer cinema in front of the Garage Museum of...
16:58
Armenian defense minister, OSCE diplomat discuss frontline situation
Armenia’s Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan received on Wednesday Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador...
16:48
Iran's Rouhani claims victory over unrest and blames foreigners
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday claimed victory over unrest he blamed on foreign enemies, according to state media, after protests...
16:33
Opposition MP says no Constitutional Court member can be forced into early retirement
The Prosperous Armenia opposition parliamentary faction has not yet held debates on the draft law on early retirement of the Constitutional...
15:20
Kremlin dismisses Estonia’s territorial claims against Russia as unacceptable
The Kremlin regards Estonia’s territorial claims against Russia as unacceptable, Russian presidential spokesman, Dmitry Peskov told the...
15:12
Historic Armenian church on the verge of destruction in Turkey
The historic Surp (Saint) Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church of Diyarbakir, Turkey is on the verge of destruction, Ermenihaber reports, citing...
14:31
Lawyer: Yerevan appellate court finds violation of rights in Arsen Babayan’s arrest
The Yerevan Criminal Court of Appeals, presided over by judge Arsen Nikoghosyan, ruled that there has been a violation of Arsen Babayan’s...
13:55
Son of former German president stabbed to death in Berlin
The son of former German president Richard von Weizsaecker was stabbed to death while he was giving a lecture at a hospital in Berlin where he...
13:47
YSU students protesting education minister suspend strike for three days
Striking students of the Faculty of Armenian Philology at the Yerevan State University (YSU), who have been boycotting classes for two weeks in...
13:07
New Pentagon report says Turkey's Syria incursion is helping ISIS mount a comeback
Turkey's decision to launch a military operation targeting America's Kurdish partners in northern Syria and the Trump...
12:59
Bright Armenia faction has yet to make a final decision on draft state budget
The Bright Armenia opposition faction of the Armenian parliament has submitted more than 150 proposals on the draft state budget for 2020, MP...
12:29
Movses Hakobyan set to head Defense Ministry’s Military Oversight Service
By the order of Armenia’s defense minister, Colonel-General Movses Hakobyan has been appointed Head of the Military Oversight Service of...
12:09
Tusk to become new EPP president in Zagreb
Outgoing European Council President Donald Tusk will be the new president of the European People's Party, the EPP said on Monday ahead of...
11:39
Harut Sassounian: Erdogan meets Trump in the White House: the result is a tragicomedy
It is difficult to know where to start commenting on the ridiculous press conference between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US Pres....
10:54
Amnesty says 106 killed in Iran protests
Days of protests in Iran over rising fuel prices and a subsequent government crackdown have killed more than 100 people across the country,...
20:19
Armenian PM meets with leading Russian media representatives
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia on Tuesday met with a group of representatives of the leading Russian media outlets in Armenia, the...
19:59
Venice's historic Saint Mark's Basilica faces costly flood clean-up
Venice’s historic Saint Mark’s Basilica will need millions of euros of restoration work after it was flooded this week for just the...
19:37
Official: Tourist arrivals from China to Armenia grow strongly
Armenia welcomed a total of 1,459,000 tourists from January to September this year, up 14.4% from the same period last year, President of the...
19:01
Sweden drops Assange rape investigation after nearly 10 years
A Swedish prosecutor dropped an investigation into an allegation of rape against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, ending the near decade-old...
18:39
Kocharyan trial: Judge denies defense motion for prosecutor’s recusal
Judge Anna Danibekyan of the Yerevan Court of Gerenal Jurisdiction presiding over the trial of Armenia’s second President Robert Kocharyan...
17:33
Armenia’s third president leaves for Croatia
Chairman of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), third President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan on Tuesday paid a working visit to Zagreb, Croatia,...
16:56
Turkey will launch another Syria operation if area not cleared of Kurdish YPG: Anadolu
Turkey’s foreign minister said Ankara would launch a new military operation in northeast Syria if the area was not cleared of what he...
16:50
Armenia’s Pashinyan to pay official visit to Italy
On November 20-22, Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan will pay an official visit to Italy with his spouse Anna Hakobyan, his...
16:38
Armenia’s education ministry assures us of something it has no data on
By an order of Armenia’s Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport Arayik Harutyunyan dated 11 November 2019, starting from 1...
15:01
Russian donors contribute €1 mln to rescue flood-stricken Venice
The Italian Embassy in Russia has raised one million euro in donations to deal with the aftermath of a long stretch of floods inundating Venice...
14:54
Armenia wins three medals at int'l boxing tournament in Belarus
Armenian athletes have conquered three medals – one silver and two bronze – at the 2019 Boxing EUBC Viktor Liventsev Memorial held...
14:37
U.S. lawmakers call for military aid parity to Armenia, Azerbaijan
Congressional Armenian Caucus leaders Congressman Frank Pallone, Congresswoman Jackie Speier, and Congressman Adam Schiff have sent a letter to...
14:10
Armenian lavash cooking demonstration held at American History Museum in Washington
The National Museum of American History in Washington in partnership with the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage hosted on November 15 a...
13:41
MPs electing members of the Anticorruption Committee
MPs at Armenian parliament are electing members of the Anticorruption Committee that will be established as part of the country’s new...

Follow us and get updates!

Most popular articles

{"core.blocks.header.spell_message1":"Selected mistake: ","core.blocks.header.spell_message2":"Send a message about the mistake?"}