Antoine Terjanian's letter 19: Haikouhi's mother’s plea

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November 2004
by Antoine Terjanian

We are now in November, the days are getting shorter and less hot, very pleasant if you ask me, but cooler for local Armenians. Two years ago, Makour Yerevan, the project originally sponsored by the Tufenkian Foundation had chosen to move the volunteer street cleaning time from the usual 10:30 am to a more reasonable 1:30 p.m. starting time, thus avoiding cool weather for the volunteers (many of whom are school children). The usual get-together following the street cleaning effort was also moved to an indoor location (the Youth Center in downtown Yerevan – a decrepit building in downtown Yerevan, whose elaborate façade and sculptures prove that it had seen better days in Soviet times). That Saturday afternoon, Haro Setian, an energetic young volunteer from South Carolina, had brought a large group of orphans from the Zatik orphanage (the kids who make the Christmas cards I sold in Ottawa). The Zatik orphans performed a song & dance show for us while we were offered the usual glass of soft-drink and a piece of brioche. We stayed a bit later than usual that afternoon in the Youth Center, chatting and dancing

Paid for Marshutka… this is when I discovered there were marshutkas that only charged 50 drams for the ride (instead of the usual 100 drams. I never figured why).

Bread kiosk, accounts, boss, errors

Used to work for American couple, who offered to take her to the US when their posting finished, but she would not abandon her family. When I told her about Haikouhi paying for my marshutka fare, she said: well, I taught them to work and earn their own pocket money, so they could survive on their own when I died.

Taxi to their home, prepaid by boss, Mother, Mrs. Osmanyan off a bit earlier (she said she had an errand). When we got home, Handicapped father, twin brother and 16 year-old older brother all working on their homework in a small living/bedroom while a soviet TV entertained the unemployed / handicapped father. Mrs. Osmanyan arrives with some pastries to “hyurasirel” (literally to love the guest).