Monday, April 30, 2007
Look at mine...barely visible...then look at the boy's. It took me two hours to find that puny mushroom and it took Samvel about 10 minutes to find that monster. I must need some hunting practice.
Let the sunburns begin...
That's our village in the background in the center. To the top left are the lakes where people are raising fish. The lakes are what attract our beautiful village storks...and the summer mosquitoes.
This greenery was what we walked towards for about two hours. It was disappointing when we arrived though because it was like a small marsh in between two mountains...not perfect for picnicking.
There’s got to be a genius behind the public relations campaign in
He goes on to explain that, “Over the last five years, while anti-Americanism has surged around the glove,
To validate the public relations profession even more, Kurlantzick continues, “Beijing is already reaping the benefit of this attitudinal change in traditional, hard-power terms…All this would have been impossible a decade ago, when China seemed to have no idea how to manage its image.”
Bigger than corporate events or television spots, effective public relations of entire countries has the potential to improve the world. “The improving image of the People’s Republic is making cooperation possible in new ways and places,” Kurlantzick writes. “Of course,
Tuesday April 24 was Genocide Memorial Day. Although not everyone recognizes the Armenian tragedy as genocide there is no doubt in my mind that it occurred and that the international relations between
I met Alla by the metro stop and we made the long, very cold, walk to the memorial. Despite the wintry mix falling from the sky, the vast procession of those paying their respects was seemingly never ending. We bought red tulips and brought them to the center of the memorial. The mound of flowers that people had placed throughout the day was nearly as tall as me. There were funeral bouquets from countries all over the world and it was remarkable to hear people speaking in English.
We decided to go to the underground museum before walking back. As we stared at pictures of starving, naked and displaced Armenians all I could think of were the images I’ve seen of the prisoners of the WWII concentration camps. The haunting images only added to the pain of recognizing that this small country was once a powerful nation, spreading all the way to the
It was cold cold cold (hence the bright red nose to match my jacket).
Monday, April 23, 2007
There is a class that the kids take called 'work'. The boys learn how to build and repair things and the girls learn how to cook and make crafts. I recruited some of the sixth form boys and later the fourth form wanted to help. When the bell rang they asked if they could come back after school and help some more. They showed up at 2 p.m. with gloves, bags, water and a flower for me.
It was an enthusiastic group.
When it was time to plant the trees this neighbor came down and showed us the right way to do things. Talk about community investment.
YCAP group 9th form students helped dig while we gathered buckets of water and measured out the field. Our friend stayed around to monitor the work for a few trees until the boys got the hang of it.
One of my favorite students (above right) took charge of the younger students (who he fondly referred to as his kindergartners). Here he is instructing the kids to gather rocks to make a ring around the baby trees. I'll admit, it was a nice touch.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
This is the "Easter lawn" I was describing in my last entry. The eggs aren't in it yet but you get the idea. The YCAP group had an Easter presentation at school and invited me to talk about our customs in America. I started with the Biblical significance of the holiday and moved into a description of the Easter bunny and egg hunting. We have some nice deviled egg dishes in our family but I must admit that the green is a lovely display for colored eggs. All it takes is a few weeks of watering.
Saturday, April 07, 2007
The daffodils didn't symbolize anything-- just reminded me of home and brightened my bedroom.
Although yesterday was Good Friday, I didn’t have much of an opportunity to reflect on the day. This year Holy week coincides with the final week of women’s month. Today, April 7, is the conclusion of the festivities.
A little background: After the collapse of the Soviet Union celebrations of international women’s day were abandoned in Armenia. Instead, April 7 was introduced as state holiday of ‘Beauty and Motherhood.’ The new holiday immediately got popular among Armenians, as it commemorates one of the main holidays of Armenian Church, Annunciation. Today, people continue to celebrate women’s day on March 8 as well, so public discussion held on the topic of two Women’s Days in Armenia resulted in the recognition of Women’s Month (the time between March 8 and April 7).
To celebrate in the village, our event planner organized a community pagent. I was invited to attend and sing, but I refused to subject everyone to another episode of me singing on stage. We settled on reciting a poem in Armenian. While memorization and recitation is a common practice in the school and for Armenians in general, it did not come easy to me. I’ve been practicing my poem for a month now and was still scared of messing up (which I did). Fortunately, I made up for it by dancing all night and participating in one of the games. I like Armenian dancing better than American, and all I had to do to win the game was pair up with our gym teacher and eat an apple blindfolded. Sometimes the Armenians are very easy to please.
Towards the end of the night it was time for us to go around the room and provide a toast to the women and the holiday. Each table sent a representative to the front of the room to say a few words. By the time they reached our table (number 10) all of the common toasts had already been made (for health, blue skies, green paths, long life, everything good and kind, etc…). I leaned over to my friend and told her she should offer hope as our wish for the future of the women in the room. To me, it seemed like a good connection between the popular women’s holiday and rememberance of the risen Lord.
I colored eggs with 9a on Thursday and this morning they invited me to their women’s day party at school tonight. The Armenian’s are familiar with the egg coloring process, but they color hundreds and traditionally they’re only red (to symbolize Christ’s blood). A couple of weeks ago people started ‘planting’ lentils and other beans on wet cotton on platters and now they have small green yards for presenting the eggs. Tonight at our house we are going to prepare the traditional food: rice and raisins, fish and greens and then tomorrow I will pass out a little American plastic eggs and peeps to the kids. I’ve been using my lenten discipline (no sweets…except jam) to illustrate my faith and everyone is very excited about the prospect of indulging in ice cream and chocolate all day tomorrow. I understand the commercial Easter in Armenia, I hope to attend a traditional service tomorrow and see how the occasion is celebrated in the church.
Happy Easter all. He is Risen!