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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.

Several guests and media stopped by Yeghvard to visit with the volunteers and view the project. Dr. Aram Ghazarian of OTC (LCO’s French chapter) visited on his way to Karabakh to perform surgeries at the LCO renovated Shushi Hospital. He reviewed the progress of the work with the contractor and architect. Ghazarian commended the volunteers on their diligence and enthusiastic attitude towards the campaign.

Lunching in Our House with Guest Dr. Ghazarian
Lunching in Our House with Guest Dr. Ghazarian


Also, one the volunteer’s parents, who had been in Yerevan, came down to Yeghvard to visit their son. It was an honor and exciting for the locals to have such visitors come all that way to their village in this remote part of Armenia. Once gain, newspaper reporters from Kapan came to interview the volunteers and LCO Board Members. This is the third time LCO has made the regional news.

In Awe of Vahanavank
In Awe of Vahanavank
Over the Voghdji River
Over the Voghdji River

This week’s local excursion took them to the medieval Vahanavank monastery located near the city of Kapan. They also went over the Voghdji River, which flows from the regional mountains, down through the countryside and merges with the Arax River in the south. Later they traveled into the "big city" of Kapan to lunch and enjoy delicious Armenian ice cream.

One of the volunteers Taleen went to Yerevan for a family christening, and her relatives from Iran came to Armenia for the family reunion. Taleen enjoyed her time with her family but couldn’t wait to get back to "her" village. After the nature and beauty of the countryside, Yerevan was too noisy and urban for her. Upon her return, news in the village had spread that "Taleen is back".

Relaxing on Our Village Veranda
Relaxing on Our Village Veranda
Volunteers and Local Children Taking a Break
Volunteers and Local Children Taking a Break

The village mayor is so delighted that the volunteers have integrated so well with the locals, especially the children. Village residents know everyone of the volunteers by name, and the volunteers can name every child by their nicknames. Whenever the volunteers head to the work site, the kids start calling out their names "Lori, Taleen, etc." They have all truly formed one big Armenian family. "

  • "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