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LCO-OTC Adventures in Armenia

Picnic by Waterfall

After three days of intense and satisfying work on the church in Tchichenavank, on Saturday, the group  took an excursion to a nearby waterfall, the third largest in Armenia. They took a picnic lunch and prepared for a restful day. The volunteers, along with group leaders, piled into two open trucks and headed uphill to the waterfall, an hour away.  The recent rains had made the road difficult, but the experienced local drivers navigated with unbelievable skill.


At the waterfall the group forded a shallow stream, found a nice site by the river to picnic and ate and hiked.
By two o'clock, clouds had gathered and it began to sprinkle. By the time they reached the trucks, a full rain had started.  In a few minutes, the drivers found an empty school bus parked on the road.  We stopped and sent our volunteers to sit in the covered bus until the rain stopped. It did not, it began to hail. They all sat for an hour. It rained, hailed, thunder and lightening. The group was wet but in great spirits, laughing and joking.
Helping The Locals
When the rains stopped, they piled back into the trucks to continue home, much slower because of the muddy road.
Soon, they approached a car that was stuck in the road, blocking the path. It was a local family, children and grandparents, out for the day.
Our group was a true miracle for them.  All of our 17 volunteers got out and with much laughing, manuvering, slipping and sliding, they managed to get the car out of the mud.
They finally made it back to the village, where the cook had prepared a tea table for them.
Only in Armenia, can you go out in the sun, picnic by a stream, get stuck in the rain, help someone out of the mud and return to "high tea".
This was not a tourist attraction. This is the real Armenia experience.  For more photos regarding this excursion, please visit our Gallery.
  • "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