Wednesday, June 27, 2007

June 26 Tsnundd Shnorhavor

I got a grant for my birthday yesterday and it was the best gift a PCV could ask for. After a few edits to the proposal we'll be able to secure funding and get to work on the community contributions before construction begins in August.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

Other exciting gifts included: A lavender shirt and pant outfit size XXL, two pairs of underwear, a bra and a silk nightie, a set of seven flowered plates and a pair of gold shoes (for school of course) from the kids.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Project Proposal Deadline

Today marks the tenth month that I've lived and worked at site. The village life is nice in the summertime as everyone has plenty of work to do. We are all getting ready for the apricot harvest next week. They say there will be very little to sell but plenty to eat, which translates to days of preparing juice and jam. We'll be eating apricots by the kilo and I can't wait.

I was excited to see that the fruit stands along the side of the road started popping up last weekend too. Men and women create small tents of fresh produce and then camp out (literally) along the road until September or October. The more elaborate stands feel like small outdoor homes with everything from refrigerators and televisions to beds and flatware. One of our relatives has an especially nice business where he sells gas and fruit. I like to go and sit on the bed and eat from their stand.

Today is also the deadline for SPA submissions. I made a trip into Yerevan yesterday to finalize and turn in the village's project proposal for a new playground/outdoor recreation area. As simple as a playground sounds it's quite an undertaking and I pray that we are awarded the funds and finish the project by first bell (September 1). One of the best aspects to the grant is the 'community contribution.' No matter how much money the grant requests, 25 percent of the budget must come through some form of community contribution. In our case this includes time, energy and equipment donations in the form of: 100 decorative trees, an irrigation system (for the 100 trees), eight benches made from old school desks, four trashcans, cleaning and painting. It will be beautiful and, as optimistic as it sounds, will hopefully foster community pride and health.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Week one year two: Done

Well...approximately. After the new volunteer welcome we had our first Green Camp in Idjevan (up north). All six girls stayed with Rud and enjoyed a week of tasty food, moderately well behaved children and camp songs. The camp was organized to provide all of the coordinators from the remaining five camps this summer an opportunity to learn by doing. We served as counselors to try and figure out for ourselves how to budget, schedule and put out small fires.

Syd and I. I live up there and she just embraces the entire country as home.

The mountain group!
Rud and his angels. We took an excursion to Yerevan on Wednesday. It might have been considered inconvenient to have to stop the bus every ten km to pour water on the overheating radiator but we took it as a nice opportunity to photograph the lovely countryside and country map.

The excursion also took us past Sevanavank on the Sevan peninsula. Princess Mariam commissioned the church for a place to worship but because she was a woman she was only able to view the services through a slit window in the back. The church has a great view of the lake.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

A15 Welcome Weekend Pictures

Right below the Ohio license plate in the heart of Yerevan, Armenia.
This is hail coming down on our football game. We're tough though, it only delayed play for about 10-15 minutes.
Welcome to Armenia A15s

Almost every volunteer in country.