Yeghiazaryan lives in Saramej, a village with
a name that means "among the mountains".
But for some time now has found himself amoung
by a smaller, more bothersome characteristic of
"Rats and mice are hosts in our house,"
he says. "And the so-called house is a metal
domik (small house), which has decayed during
years and is disappearing."
Indeed the 47-year old Yeghiazaryan's hands are
blackened from work on his "disappearing"
faded red boxcar-like dwelling.
Like many families in his village, Yeghiazaryan's
home was destroyed in the earthquake of 1988 that
shattered life in villages of the Lori region
as well as in places that got more attention,
Spitak and Gyumri.
"If we had a house, I would get married
with my beloved girl," says Hamazasp's 23
year old son, Hayk. "However today I have
no future in the village and all my thoughts are
about the work outside my village. I think only
about leaving the village. I cannot even create
a family in our carriage (domik), where already
five people can hardly move."
Yeghiazaryans have heard a lot of promises in
the past 14 years. They used to get excited over
news of imminent improvements. Now they have settled
into a silent acceptance of their hardship.
"Who should we take offence at?" asks
Armen Malkhasyan shrugging his shoulders, who
lives with his brother's and father's families
in a self-made temporary hostel.
"As a result of the earthquake 100 percent
of the village had been wrecked," says head
of Saramej village Spartak Malkhasyan. "Eighty
percent were completely destroyed and the rest
Of the village's 300 families, 280 have been
living in hostels, metal domiks, and even in emergency
buildings as there is no other option.
Representative of the Department of Agriculture
and Nature Protection of the head office of Lori
Region Vladimir Buniatyan says that the hard social
conditions and housing problems are given an added
burden by nature.
"Saramej is located in a seismic zone and
convulsions often happen there," Buniatyan
says. "But it is also one of the land-poor
and unprotected villages. There are so few farming
lands here that villagers cannot fully rely on
nature, especially when as a result of extremely
wet weather the harvest is often spoiled."
Soon after the earthquake a team of specialists
from Russia visited Saramej to rebuild the village.
The legacy of the team and of the government it
represented is the half-built constructions of
Many Saramej residents, including its leader,
sought solutions by leaving to look for jobs in
the earthquake, a drawing procedure was organized
in the almost completely destroyed village,"
says Spartak Malkhasyan. "Each family was
given a number and a piece of land. Today there
are 87 half-constructed two-storied constructions
in the village, which could help many families
in case they were completely built."
The village leaders say Catholic Relief Service,
an international organization that builds houses
for needy, has agreed to finish the constructions,
but only after a water pipeline has been installed
in the village.
The World Food Programme organized a food for
work project for the villagers, providing food
goods to workers who worked on the water line,
which has now reached 3,400 meters.
"A new village will be constructed this
spring," Spartak Malkasyan says hopefully.
"It is necessary both in social and in emergency
terms as old Saramej is located in the center
of serious seismic danger."
Malkasyan's fulfilled hopes would be gladly accepted
in Saramej where, one villager says: "We
would be glad if something changed in our life,
however, we don't know what is going to be tomorrow."