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.

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