Friday, August 21, 2009

single mom

I met Knarick last summer when I moved in with my second host family. She is one of their relatives, and I was really happy to meet her then because she spoke English. She teaches English in a village nearby and raises her two young children all by herself. Her husband left almost 8 years ago, to Russia, and never came back. But she still claims to be married. The social pressures for women to marry are strong, and once you are - you are. She's not alone in this regard, I've met many women in the same boat. I hate that it's that way for them, but Armenia is a traditional place with strict rules about marriage and divorce. I took these pictures yesterday at her house, when I came along to help bring her a load of new furniture. We ended up staying all afternoon, cooked a chicken, ate dinner - the whole 9 yards.

Monday, August 17, 2009

come close

I would have liked to get closer to this little girl, but as it was she was pretty clued in on what I was doing, trying to take her picture. But as it is, I like her gesture. Alone, and looking or deciding where to go next. I've always struggled getting close, and at times go back and forth with myself about doing that. Maybe that's why I like taking pictures. It is difficult and complicated, but fun also. It makes me think about what I am making other people feel, as I try not to think about it because I know it looks beautiful. Shortly after I took this picture, the girl ran at high speed out of my frame and I watched as she crashed into her Dad's leg and grabbed hold of his pants to hide her face from mine.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

narine the great

This is my dear friend Narine. Every summer she works for Peace Corps teaching new Americans how to speak Armenian. She taught me how to last summer, and from time to time I see her in Yerevan and stay at her apartment with her family. She has a son who is deaf and she taught him to read lips in both English and Armenian - and boy is he good at it! She's an amazing woman, and I ran into her at the Swearing In ceremony last week to welcome the new group of volunteers who have finished their training. It's weird to be the "old" ones, but it feels good to be helping the "new" ones out with their start here.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


All the Green Camps I volunteered myself for this summer, are finished. I don't know how many times I sang Boom Chica Boom - like a monkey, like a chicken, like a soldier, like a pirate, like a crazy bus driver - but it went down really well and the kids had a great time. I think it's really important to demonstrate to the Armenian youth that being silly is OK. That thinking creatively is more important than just being right. I've seen the inside of the schools here, and they can be scary. It's a system of dominance, fear, and embarrassment that only praises children who can memorize things quickly. I believe in these camps. I think they educate and inspire. And that is something to place some value in.