July 30, 2012
When I registered to be part of AYF Canada’s youth corps program, I knew that it was going to be a different experience than a typical trip to Armenia as I was going to witness first hand the daily life of the local Armenian populace. Though it has only been two weeks that we are in Armenia, visiting its different regions and all the way to Artsakh and Javakhk, I have already gained insight on the difficulties our people face living in our great country, and that includes Vanadzor where we are running our camp.
Outside Yerevan, the major cities lack considerable finances. The roads are not well maintained, some buildings are in ruins, there are even homes missing windows or roofs. In the smaller villages the conditions only get worse. People live in unthinkable conditions while a select few enjoy the life’s luxuries in Yerevan.
It seems that the general population is dissatisfied with many aspects of how to country is being managed. Despite the country’s development in the past few years, there is the ever-present complaint of corruption. There is the unfortunate phenomena of men leaving their families behind and going to Russia to work for months at a time since they cannot find job opportunities in their own country. In fact, there are entire villages where the male population is absent and the women run the day to day jobs until they return. Some young families end up moving to Russia permanently because of these conditions. It seems to me that Armenians have lost hope in the future of their country, rather than stay and demand changes.
I think to myself…what will the future of Armenia be like given a crumbling infrastructure, an almost non-existent economy, a corrupted government and decreasing number of citizens? What kind of future will the children I care for live in? How far can they dream and strive for change when the present is in such a dire state? This is a serious issue that should be discussed throughout the Diaspora…the threat to Armenia is real and is from within!