Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Small Things

On Thursday I was up in Shamshadin again.

This time I took Ann, a Norwegian psychiatrist and Al, an American Armenian with me.  Al had been touched by my interview with Mariam Yesayan in Chinchin, and wanted to meet her.  But as we rolled into the village I thought I would take them up to the 'top of the world' in a park outside of Chinchin.  There they were blown away by the panorama view, the beauty of the rough nature, and the purity of the air. Al has found his new yoga place.

And then to the Yesayan house, where the knitting women came in and presented their wares- over 100 snowflake coasters in a range of colors.  Al had ordered a bunch of them, and paid the women then and there.  Their faces were precious as they saw the cash lay on the table.  Smiles ear to ear.  They had earned money for the first time in a long time- hard earned and sorely needed money.  Hasmik and Lilit leaned over the table, eager to show a better suggestion on how to finish the edges of the coasters so they wouldn't curl so much.  They chattered away, flush with the excitement of a new situation in Chinchin.  It was the strength of these women, combined with a wonderful Shamshadin sense of humor that impressed Al and Ann, and always impresses me.  Ann got caught up in the positiveness of it all, and ordered 50 coasters as Christmas gifts on the spot.  The women cackled in excitement- Do we have enough yarn?  When do you need them? 

After a fabulous village snack of fresh bread, pickles and home made cheese, we rolled full of impressions out of Chinchin towards Nerkin Karmiraghbyur.  I had interviewed a young man there named Vardan a few weeks earlier on, so I tried to call him to say we were coming.  But he didn't answer- hadn't answered for the past few days.  That probably means he is at the front line as a hired soldier.  Hope he is safe.

On to Berd, we visit the ladies of the Berd Womens Resource Center, and Tamara and Seda as always are knitting away, bear body parts strewn across the table, waiting for assembly.  They had five more bears ready for us.  We talked about the future, about how to increase production, lower prices, export, make these beautiful little creatures into a thriving business.  Seeds were planted.  They need nourishment to grow, but it will come.

Rushing home on the Berd-Chambarak road, we cannot see more than ten meters in front of us due to thick fog.  Nothing of the fantastic view on the left side of the road for about 50 kilometers is visible.  Oh well, at least the tree poachers were also kept off that road- a few trees saved today, maybe.  And so home to Yerevan.

These trips are so important to me.  They make me physically tired, but spiritually happy.  Al and Ann and all the others that have joined me on trips to Shamshadin will remember them- Mariam, Hasmik, Lilit, Vardan, Anahit, Seda, Tamara and all those other women up in our beloved Shamshadin.

But in addition to these great people, I will remember the small things, like this little flower at 'the top of the world' in Chinchin.

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