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Campaign News 2010

July Group Departs As New August Volunteers Arrive

After the July group departed Yeghvard on July 28th, they enjoyed their final excursion and last days in Armenia.

Over_the_Cliffs_of_Saghmosavank
Over the Cliffs of Saghmosavank

On their way back to Yerevan, they stopped to visit the Saghmosavank and Hovanavank monasteries. LCO had conducted a four-year campaign renovating Saghmosavank in time for the 1700th anniversary of Christianity in Armenia.  Saghmosavank’s location by the cliffs was very inspiring for the volunteers. Located on the monastery’s grounds, is a special khatchkar (stone cross) dedicated to the memory of Patrick Tateossian who volunteered with OTC (LCO’s French chapter) in the Kessab and Armenia campaigns.  A few years after his OTC/LCO experience, Patrick moved from his native Argentina to Armenia to live and work.  Unfortunately, he passed away suddenly in 2002.

Yeghvard, Sweet Yeghvard

For almost a month now, LCO volunteers from the Diaspora and the capital of Yerevan have made Yeghvard in the Syunik region of Armenia their home away from home. They awake and sleep to the sites and sounds of the countryside and farm life. Birds chirping, bees buzzing, farm animals roaming wherever they turn. Yeghvard may be off in the rural distance, but it is not backward. They have a community center that houses a daycare center and a library. Despite the children’s joy, the only complaint from the villagers is that there is a lack of water. It is a very difficult life for them to endure the mercy of the weather, limited government resources, and a lack of water to adequately supply the needs of their community.

Volunteers and Locals-One Big Family

Yeghvard or Bust
Yeghvard or Bust

Upon their return from Karabagh, the volunteers were eager to get back to work on the church and surrounding areas of the church’s complex.  The professional workers were extremely impressed with the level of their skill and the work ethic of our volunteers. They all said it is such a pleasure to work with them and to teach them.

Experiencing the Land and Sacrifice of Karabakh

The group continued their work at the Yeghvard site this week. All of the female volunteers decided that they also wanted to do the bricklaying and cement work, besides clearing the church’s exterior. Each day, the volunteers are getting stronger and more inspired from their work. They feel a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment in what they are doing. The group wrote their names on a piece of paper and sealed it in a bottle and placed it within the cement of the altar. Now, the volunteers feel that they are physically and spiritually a permanent part of the church.

Volunteers Settled in and Hard at Work

On July 6th, the group headed on a 13-hour scenic bus journey through Armenia stopping off to visit Khor Virap and Noravank monasteries arriving at Yeghvard late into the night. All the volunteers are in high spirits and immediately bonded. They are staying at a home that is currently vacant so there is plenty of room. However, as with most villages, there is a shortage of water and very basic shower and toilet facilities are available.

 

  • "There are experiences you shape and then there are experiences that shape you. The LCO Campaign of 2007 in the village of Azat offered me invaluable perceptions into the realities of my fellow Armenian brothers and sisters in a way only a true immersion program can. I urge everyone and anyone who might feel an inkling of belonging to this fascinating country, people, and history to sign up with the campaign immediately. I smile just thinking about what you have yet to experience."
    Noushig K, Azat 2007, CA, USA

  • "Coming back from a 4-day trip to Kharabagh really felt like coming back home, with our family waiting to greet us outside our house. That's when I realised just how attached we'd grown to the place, to our family, to the other volunteers"
    Anoosh Gasparian, Azat 2009, London UK

  • "I went to this trip with no expectations, and came back with a great appreciation for our country.  Life in the village is surreal, the food is beyond delicious and the people are incredibly nice. It was a once in a lifetime experience I will never forget!"  Sam Tahmasian, 2009, CA, USA
  • "LCO is an amazing concept. It introduced the deprived Diasporan to their land and their people. It is a wonderful introduction to Armenia and something every young man or woman should experience."
    Madlene Minassian Ispirian, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, Yerevan, Armenia

  • "My most memprable experience was being so warmly taken care by an old village couple, receiving gifts from them, giving them gifts and establishing bonds."
    Naira Der-Kiureghian, Ayroum 2003, CA, USA

  • "...I know that when I reflect back on this experience I will feel ecstatic about the work we accomplished, the things we saw, and the bonds we forged."
    Hovig Saghdejian, Ayroum 2003, California, USA

  • "Dolma is made with mum's careful instructions, grandmothers eyes found on the faces of children, songs of Ararat are as familiar as the Khachkars dotting the landscape. If it smells like home, looks like home then it must be home."
    Datevig Simonian, Shadvan 2004, California, USA

  • "LCO experience was a revelation for me. It gave me the opportunity to expand my horizons both personally and professionally. One of the most important experiences of my life and an important factor in determining my future goals."
    Lara Aharonian, August 1999, August 2001, Montreal, Canada.

  • "I formed strong bonds with my volunteers, and the difference in backgrounds was refreshing. It was interesting to hear the points of view of different Armenians from other areas of the Diaspora."
    Aramazt Kalaydjian, Shoushi 2003, NY, USA

  • "I loved the simplicity of life in the village, the fresh homemade food is wonderful; that people are the friendliest and most hospitable... the children have the most beautiful faces..."
    Sophia Balakian, Shadvan 2004, New York, USA