Armenian Volunteer Corps

Welcome to the Armenian Volunteer Corps (AVC) blog. Here our volunteers and alumni reflect on their experiences living and volunteering in Armenia. For more information about our programs, visit our website, follow us on Facebook or drop us an email: .

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Wednesdays with Tatevik

Tatevik Revazian

Work is still fantastic. I have started writing the communication plan for the project and it’s interesting starting to analyze the material I have. Hopefully the output of my work will help Mission East.

Last week two diplomats from the Norwegian Ministry came to Armenia. The director of Mission East decided to bring me along to their meeting, lunch and a visit to the Matenadaran (museum of illuminated manuscripts with impressive old Armenian books).

They were very happy to meet a Danish speaking person, me, in Armenia, and it was great for me to experience how the two cultures interacted. I could see several differences and small misunderstandings throughout the day. At meetings in Armenia it is very common that people answer phones, but in Scandinavian countries, you have to turn off your phone before starting a meeting. The meeting was not as organized as Scandinavian meetings are, and it was quite fun to see such a huge difference. More examples could be mentioned!

On Saturday we went to Dilijan and stopped by Lake Sevan. Both places are quite different in the winter, but it was still very beautiful to see. We saw a very beautiful church Haghartsin that had been renovated.

We also viewed an exhibition and I was very surprised at how cold it was inside, and how the employees managed to work there without even complaining.

Afterwards we went to a small shop where a family produced different things out of clay. People in Armenia are really good working with their hands. I am impressed! After the trip a lot of us went out to a bar. It was nice spending time together in a different way.

The last update from this week is my visit to the child development and rehabilitation center in Yerevan. I was amazed to see how well disabled children were treated there. There were many experts in different areas that worked with children with both physical and mental disorders including autistic children. I was very, very touched because this is not how disabled are treated in Armenia. Most are excluded from society because of lack of opportunities of education and medical treatment. And also because families are embarrassed to have a disabled person at home. This mentality is an outcome of the Soviet mentality where the system is built on the “survival of the fittest” concept. I asked if I could volunteer there a couple of days a week and they were very, very happy. I talked to my manager at he told me it would ok that for me to do some of my work at home, so I can help out! The center is closed on the weekends. The children there were amazing and I just can’t wait to start volunteering there!

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  • At 7:37 PM, December 29, 2010, Blogger Sosias said…

    Well, I understand Tatevik's point, given her western-type education, about the way disabled children are commonly assumed by armenian people, differently from the care they receive by institutions especially meant for such work. I would not say, though, that this is "soviet mentallity": it is actually armenian, and it is real and fit to reality. Judging is not the issue. In Venezuela, where I live, the city has always tried to "educate" the fields, the inner country, and this is one of the major historical problems in America: there is a novel in our literature that well describes it: "Doña Bárbara", by Rómulo Gallegos (1929). This experience has also taken place in other latitudes, maybe in the very same Rusia.

  • At 1:19 AM, December 31, 2010, Blogger Sosias said…

    Where is my comment. Is this censorship? Either you publish my comment, or I will do my part with you. Armenians abroad need to be heard. Publish my comment right now!

  • At 10:40 AM, January 04, 2011, Blogger Armenian Volunteer Corps said…

    Dear Kevork, Thank you for your comment.

    Please know that we did not intentionally censor your post. We are sorry you were left with that impression. Here in Armenia this is a national holiday period--through January 9-- and we may not have been as attentive to our blog as we could have been.

    -- Sharistan
    Sharistan Melkonian
    Armenian Volunteer Corps


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