Kyle’s Journey in Armenia

Just Another Peace Corps Blog

  • Kyle? In Armenia?

    My name is Kyle, and I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Noyemberyan, Armenia. I lived here from 2006-2008, and worked as an Information Technology volunteer for the US Peace Corps. In addition to my primary assignment developing my region's WiFi internet, I also taught computer and English classes to area youth. Thank you for visiting!

    This blog remains available for historical purposes, but is no longer actively maintained.

  • Archives:

Dec 2007
A little piece of home, a dollar at a time
Posted in Peace Corps by Kyle at 10:33 pm | 2 Comments »

Sorry I’ve been neglecting this lately… just nothing to report. Winter in Armenia is slow, and December really means one thing: preparation for ??? ????, or New Years. So, life has slowed down. My grant is approved, and we’re now waiting for the check from The American People so we can begin bathroom construction in February. I got accepted to be a trainer for the Peace Corps’ Project Design and Management course in February, conveniently located at Armenia’s only ski resort (purely coincidence, mind you). And I just finished watching the first season of Heroes.

All of this is enthralling, I know, so I thought I’d save the best news for last. I’ve ranted about business in Armenia before: all the stores all sell the exact same thing, and if they build a new one, it will be identical to the neighboring store. Well, times they are a-changin’. Finally, Armenia has taken the steps necessary to be a true contender with the Western world, and have constructed a business that will forever change thecourse of business:

Dollar Store

Well,it’s no Wal-mart, but we’re still developing.

If you haven’t noticed, I don’t have much to say, so I have two letters to post that may be of interest to some or all of you. The first is from our Country Director and is filled with holiday spirit:

Dear friends and loved ones of Armenia Peace Corps Volunteers,

As we enter the holiday season I wanted to thank you for your support to our Armenia Volunteers. It is never easy to be without those we most care about but it is especially difficult during the holidays hence my note to you.

I arrived last June with forty-six new trainees to find almost forty Volunteers waiting to greet us with a very warm welcome. It has been an honor and a pleasure to witness their service to the people and communities of Armenia. I am sure that they have communicated the challenges they face as they go about their work. Indeed, Armenians especially those living in towns and villages outside of Yerevan have faced many years of hardship since the collapse of their economy when the former Soviet Union departed.

I have observed these incredible Volunteers team teaching and bringing new methods and materials to the classroom; conducting camps to help children learn about health, technology, and the environment. Schools and non-government organizations have been strengthened by the efforts of these Volunteers who train their counterparts to identify resources, write proposals, and manage projects.

I know that you are as proud of them as we on the Armenia staff are and hope this makes their absence from the Thanksgiving table a little easier to bear. The Director of the Peace Corps Ron Tschetter was just here and he met with many of our Volunteers. He was very impressed with their work and reminded us that the goals of Peace Corps have not changed in more than forty-six years. It is encouraging to know that in these turbulent times there are so many good people dedicated to creating peace in this world.

May you have a joyous holiday season this year.

Respectfully, Lee Lacy and the staff of Peace Corps Armenia

The second is from some volunteer friends of mine, who are doing some great work in my training village of Bazum:

My Peace Corps group trained last summer in a very poor village called Bazum for three months. We got to know the people there very well.

That area of the country was mostly devastated by the earthquake in 1988, and the 90s were a rough decade for Armenia in general. The businesses and factories have fallen apart or closed. Today there are zero work opportunities in Bazum people barely scrape by: working in Vanadzor (the closest city); growing their own food and keeping animals; receiving money from siblings and relatives working abroad (mostly Russia); or sharing resources and helping each other.

This isn’t a sob story it’s about hope and possibility. Bazum just needs a start. That’s where you can make a difference.

For example, three volunteers appealed to their American families and friends to keep the new kindergarten open through the winter by paying for heaters. Now we have other ideas to advance the lives of the families living in Bazum, such as:

  • building a bathroom inside the school and a new playground
  • paying for a doctor to visit the village once a month to examine the children and elderly
  • starting a seed fund for new businesses
  • creating college scholarships for students with exceptional potential

Please consider donating a small gift it would mean so much to the families in Bazum. If you are interested in donating, please contact Kathy Murdock for further instructions. Thank you for your consideration.

If you’re interested in supporting other volunteer-initiated projects, visit the Peace Corps website.

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2 Responses:

Mrs Z said:

Wow, a Dollar Store (I found it interesting it’s in English). What more could you ask for? Unfortunately, by the time you convert it’s more than a dollar isn’t it?
Congrats to all of you on your accomplishments over the past 18 months. You are all doing great things for the country of Armenia. Keep up the good work…..
Best wishes for the Holidays and safe travel.

Mrs. Z

Al Caniglia said:

Merry Christmas Kyle

The views expressed herein are the views of the author and do not express those of Peace Corps Armenia or the United States government.