Monday, October 27, 2008

malishka village

Most everyone I know well, knows I grew up in Blanco, TX. A small town that still only has one stop light. In any other country, the size of Blanco would be considered a village. I am certain I grew up as if I lived in one. My best friend Jessie Haas, at age 5, had the one thing my family didn't. Chickens. I would go over to her house just for the pleasure of walking in the coop and scoping for the laid eggs. I've always felt more comfortable in a smaller place, with people who own land and animals, and appreciate this way. Sure, I'm a Texan, and you can make fun of this all day long. But home is where the heart is, and I'm sure I'll never grow too big to enjoy a small place, like Malishka Armenia. (The images above are all from the village.)

Friday, October 24, 2008


A hodge podge of images recently. I attended the dance recital the kids put on, front row and center cheering, it was the first live entertainment I've seen since I came 5 months ago. I've also been riding in some icy buses that leak the warmth and drive us all past the rugged abandoned scenery. I would like to take more pictures inside these "marshutneys" but as soon as I take the camera out of my bag I can feel 100 eyeballs all over me. And that would prompt me to explain myself in a language I can hardly speak. Camera Courage, I need to find more of it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

trimming it up

In a few years, the eldest folks here in Armenia will be beautiful memories of a country that has seen change run swiftly through. I'm privileged to witness their characters, and enjoy watching how much respect they receive. This is my host mother's father, Papik. Grandfather he is, and his still enjoyment of having his hair cut, was what made me take about 35 pictures of him.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

teaching is...

This is one of my assignments I've given the students here. Its a start, lame as it might look. But I like to drag them up to the front with me to answer bizarre scenarios where they have to think on their feet and be creative. Why did you come to the disco dressed like a man? I saw you driving on the wrong side of the road with your face painted blue, what were you doing? I heard you were standing on your head eating bananas and shouting at people in front of the school, explain this. Anything, I'll take anything they say.... as long as its imaginative. And that is the challenge, they have never been asked to be creative. I feel like a loony up there, especially when I notice their confused faces laughing at me, but I'm hoping it will bring about something valuable. Teaching is tough, and I'm giving it my all....trial by fire.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

pb thievery

This is the second time I've gotten up one morning, hungry for peanut butter, and found the jar to be already finished off waiting for me. I have noticed a little here and there eaten up from members of my host family, which is sneaky enough, but to find the jar wiped clean and still sitting in its place is incredibly unbelievable. Someone please send this country a few shipments of peanut butter.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

little ones

This little girl is my favorite among them. Her name is Milena, although I call her Milekas. It means, my little Milena. Her head is shaved from her own request, and she is a tomboy through and through. In the beginning she had to dislike me, it was in her nature to. But now we are buddies, and when her parents come over to my house I pick her up and swing her upside down until we are both exhausted from laughing.

There are a few orphanages in Armenia, although this country is extremely family oriented they do exist, and I have plans to visit them next month during a break from school. Their stories are a mystery to me, and how their lives surfaced them there.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


A few students I teach, helping their father repair the car. Most of the cars in Armenia are about 20 or 30 years old, but there is always a few on the road that don't belong. A new Land Rover, Mercedes or BMW. Quite a contrast to say the least, and it always confuses me. What is the real situation behind all this show?