Antoine Terjanian's letter 07: Are you sick of our dug-out sidewalks?

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August 2002

Dear Repats:

Are you sick of our dug-out sidewalks?
You can now do something about it
1) log-in to Antoine’s column and send a message to Kirk Krikorian to fire his project manager in Yerevan, or give the forum a piece of your mind;
2) Get a shoe shine: · On Abovian near Artbridge (between Toumanian & Sayat-Nova);
· Mornings between 9:00 and sunset;
· Regular leather shoes (black & brown) for now ;
· 150 drams (exact change please) – tipping is welcome; If shoe has to be taken-off foot 200 drs
· you can take photos, he is a “Babig” his name is Zhoura. Please put up with him and help him with his training period..

If you know of an unemployed person interested to continue this job, contact me. The shoeshine box maker is already churning the second unit!

This project idea is designed to get the shoe-shine business back on the streets of Yerevan: a) to fill a tourist need; b) to create jobs for needy people as an alternative to begging; c) to show that one can be creative in finding self-sustaining work.

I am doing it because people resent others “telling” them what to do. Leading by example is better. If the business is successful, then I expect, like everywhere else, others will imitate it and hopefully improve on it; and we’ll all have clean shiny shoes despite Kirk Krikorian’s project manager’s mistake.

Are you sick of the dug-out sidewalks in downtown Yerevan?

When I first arrived on May 30th, they had started digging-out streets and sidewalks in downtown Yerevan. I then learned Kirk Krikorian had donated the funds. It sounded like a good win/win deal. He was creating jobs. Some of the streets/sidewalks being dug-out seemed perfectly OK, but I convinced myself they will look even better in a month. I blessed Kirk Krikorian for his excellent initiative.

Come August, with all the strong winds and dust in the air, with more sidewalks dug-out and few finished, with more street garbage accumulating in the holes and all the museums closed, I thought, surely they are planning to finish the whole thing at the same time for the height of the tourist season in September. Then I thought they will have them ready for “Independence day, Sept 21”… Are you still waiting?

Of course Mr. Krikorian himself is NOT to blame, especially not his motives. He also took a further step in specifying what his donation would be used for (renovating downtown streets). But did he ever imagine that he did such a disservice to tourism in Yerevan in the 2002 season? Mr. Krikorian does not check-out the fine print in the contracts his foundation issues, but he has managers who are supposed to do that. These are the people I point the finger to.

If they are on this list, I beg them to clear their names.

What do you think? Do you know how to contact Mr. Krikorian? If you do, please forward this (or about this) to him.

Best regards