Saturday, June 24, 2006

So you're thinking three messages in one day

I'm so sorry to do this but I was just able to read Mrs. Wilson's comment and I felt that I have been leaving out some physical environment coments. Let me say that right now the weather is my ideal. It is sunny all day long with warm temperatures and at night it is cooler (50s). This is very very abnormal for this region. In fact, it's bad because of our potato garden, my mom is praying for rain every day. For me, however it's great.
My home is comfortable now and I even think it might be livable in the winter as we have a gas heater in our living room. I find myself, however, noticing the holes in walls and around doors, the spaces where windows don't close all the way or where there might be a crack and I get very fearful for the winter. Oh well, I suppose I'll just deal with that as it comes.
I travel right now by Peace Corps transportation but in the future when I am assigned my site (July 6) and am living on my own (I mean at my own site with a new host family...I'll comment on this more later...) I will travel to Yerevan and other villages by Marchutney. A marchutney is a van, like a 15 passenger van that people travel in like a taxi. There are buses, which is what I use now to visit Vanadzor on 'unofficial days' (like Father's day) and then of course taxis around as well.
The cities look like regular cities but the villages are poorer. The greatest trial with the underdevelopment is not really bad at all just quite an adjustment from someone who has such a strong love for the Worthington bike path and tree-lined Bexley roads...that is the unpaved, dirt roads frequented by our village cows. Every morning Stephanie and I go for walks up and down these drastic hills with the beautiful mountains surrounding us but we can't look at the scenery we must look down for a few reasons. 1) we need to watch out for holes or large rocks 2) we do not want to step in a little mess left by the horses or cows...these are prevalent and 3) women are very modest here--by nature it is difficult for me to not smile at strangers so it's just easier if I don't even acknowledge that they are there. It's hard and makes me feel cold and rude but it is a cultural etiquette I'm adjusting to. Anyway, walks are a great workout and are serving their purpose here just as they always did in the states.
My home is nice. It has a kitchen, living room, family room and two bedrooms. My mother sleeps in a large bed in the family room where the t.v. and gas heater are located (we don't need the heater right now). Our toilet and shower room are located downstairs (you exit the house and go down the stairs) in a type of basement area that is still above ground. I'm sorry I don't know how to explain it. We have three pigs and a few chickens (I don't know how many but I enjoy their eggs each morning) and then a potato/cabbage garden. I hoed the garden with my mom the other day--it's tough work! Please do not generalize the country based on my situation. Each volunteer has a different living situation and the descrepencies are great among even next door neighbors. Stephanie, for example, has an 'agitator' to wash her clothes, Heather, for example, has hot water inside the house. Everyone is different. I like my situaiton and find it very livable and even comfortable. I have my own room with a beautiful view of the mountains. I have four hangers but nonetheless a closet and table and bed. I have a nice vanity as well. My real father, Allan, drew a good comparison that living here is kind of like living in rural Ohio in the 1930's or 1940's. It's nothing like America today but it's also not bad or unbearable. It's just life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sarah, you have a great attitude and it sounds like life in Armenia is full of adventure -- what a tremendous experience. For the rest of your life you'll never run out of great stories to tell about your time there! Ohio misses you and your blog is fantastic, keep it up. :)
~Lara from FM