About my life in Armenia, about being a mom and an activist, working for women's rights.
The challenges and benefits of raising a family in a post-soviet republic.
Finding a place, my place and calling it HOME.


Armenian Pregnancy Chronicles #3: Prenatal Care

It is 4 am and I can’t sleep. I was turning and turning in my bed, trying to relax, finding the right position to relieve my sciatic nerve pain, then emptying my mind of all the thoughts of yesterday’s stressful moving experience (we are moving the women’s center to a new location and it seems my present condition is making it harder for me to cope with it. But nothing is helping and it seems that my body, 7 months pregnant now, is preparing for waking up in the middle of the night and adapting to the future baby’s schedule.

Republican Hospital - Birth Center

I went to do my routine tests this week. The Republican hospital where I will be giving birth this time seems trustworthy. Some parts of the building were renovated with the help of USAID and some parts need more work. But overall it is a decent place although it lacks a little bit of a friendly ambiance, colors, nice soothing posters…I will visit soon the operating/delivery facilities and post delivery rooms as well and keep you updated on that.


Armenian Pregnancy Chronicles #2: Women Solidarity!

I am traveling so much during this pregnancy. And I feel that my baby is enjoying it very much, since she/he is not giving me any hard time, sitting quietly in the warmth of my belly. From time to time kicking vigorously to remind me that he/she is there when I get caught up in a heated discussion during my seminars.

I am now in Shushi, just came back from a dynamic meeting at the Women’s Resource Center here. Gohar and I started this branch of the Center 3 years ago with the help of Gayane that I met in Shushi during the summer of 2001, when I was volunteering with Land and Culture organization. Since then, Gayane and I bonded immediately. At that time her children were very young and I used to visit her with my daughter on my back for coffee some homemade sweets and long discussions. She used to tell me about her life in Karabakh; the war, how she met her husband and then her experience as a young mother in a war-torn city. We used to think together of different ways to improve the life of women here and what were some of the important issues they were dealing with.

Women's Resource Center of Shushi
I wouldn’t imagine that 7 years later we would be working together on developing a women’s center in Shushi. So much changed since then.  It was a real challenge to bring together women and create this unique space where they were accepted fully and given the opportunity to voice their concerns and talk endlessly of their dreams and losses for the past years.

During this trip, I realized how much the center has evolved and how important it started to become to all the women using it. Many contributed to this over the years; Briony and Julia provided the space for free, Tamar gave up her life in Paris to spend a couple of months in this harsh town to help the staff organize, Ani taught English and gave hope, Hasmig introduced non-violent communication, Lusya implemented video workshops, Tatevik, Anush, Gayane, Shushan, Lucine, Nina and other volunteers made endless trips back and forth from Yerevan to help with programs and activities. And many more contributed in different ways. Today the center is open 4 days a week, provides many services to the women in Shushi and surrounding areas. It is also a safe haven for those needing a space to talk and share their problems and find solutions for different issues they are faced with.

Active volunteer discussing with guests from Martakert
Tonight 5 young women from Martakert (border region of Kharabagh) came to visit. The Center is trying to outreach to the regions gradually.
It takes lots of effort and dedication to sustain a women’s center in a conflict region. Resources are scarce and motivation is low, we face many challenges. But it seems that something is changing, years ago it was difficult to find any local volunteers, today Nelly and some others come over after their University classes to help and want to do more.

Many times I was close to losing hope that anything will happen in this town. But today I left the meeting with a huge smile on my face. I felt so good to see how warm and energetic this center has become and how much the women are trying to do things with so little resources. 

to know more about the women's resource center in Shushi go here.