Saturday, July 24, 2010

Water Filters

The picture I put up is of my water filter after one year and the new one I just put in the other day. That water looks good right? Actually it doesn’t taste bad or anything it just doesn’t look all that refreshing but by the time it has been filtered its clear and not too bad. It can be hard to come by though. I am one of the few people I know in the whole country including the capital, Yerevan, that has twenty-four hour running water everyday. It’s a nice thing to have but the other day it was turned off for a week while the city put in new pipes. It would have been easy to store water had I known that the water would be turned off. I would have filled my bathtub and buckets but I didn’t realize it would be turned off until the tap ran dry. So instead I woke up one morning with a pile of dishes and no water to clean them with. I had to walk to the neighboring apartment building where they have a community water spicket that everybody was collecting water from. It took a lot of trips but finally I got my bathtub filled. The week the water was turned off was also a really hot week so I had all of the windows open to let the air blow through but with the pipes being dug out and reburied there was a lot of dust in the air which means I now have a apartment nicely coated in dust.
The water filter is also a reminder that I’ve been here for a year. We had our mid-service conference in Tsakadzor. It was a fun time and the hotel we stayed at was really nice by anybodies standards. It was called the Sports Complex and as the name would envision where were a lot of athletes there. So here were us scrawny Peace Corps Volunteers on one half of the cafeteria and on the other half were body builders from all over the former USSR. It was a funny contradiction to see. We played the new group of volunteers in country at kick ball and we won and I got to go swimming in a pool for the second time this year. I even had a couple of races and judging from my shortness of breath I guess I’m pretty out of shape.
I’m now back at site trying to stay busy for the next week before I leave for my vacation on Friday and trying not to get washed away by the tremendous down pour of rain we are getting everyday. Send me an email soon!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Water Day

This past Sunday was water day in Armenia which is a day marked by the Armenian Church where random strangers throw water on everybody including strangers. As I walked through the streets I found many buckets thrown in my direction even if I told them not to. I even tried to walk close to a women and her baby in hopes that this would keep me dry but it also did not work. Neither did sitting with a bunch of old men while I waited for a number of rowdy kids to pass by with their buckets. Instead three old women from the balcony above pored water down on all of us. Not cool Ladies.
Danny also visited this past week, which was fun. We went up to a nearby village with a nice view of the surrounding mountains. I tried to take him and Liz on a short cut but it ended up being the long way around an abandoned building. My water was also turned off for the last week as new pipes were put in outside. Its funny because every time someone visits it seems that the first question they ask is do you have running water which since I do have running water I say yes, but for some reason this statement seems to be a jinx’s that causes my water to be turned off without fail. So in the mornings I had clean water while in the evenings I had muddy water and during the day I had no water.
Today I met an old professor of mine from Baylor. He is an Armenian from Gyumri and never when I sat in his class could I have imagined myself living in Armenia just a few short months later but here I am. It was cool to eat dinner with a professor who I studied under but now can find common ground with.
This coming week I have a conference with Peace Corps to attend which I am looking forward to! I’ll let you know how that goes next week. And Ian is coming to visit in less then a month. Awesome Ian!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I know it’s been a while since I last wrote, but this has turned out to be a busy summer. Last month I worked a camp for 13 to 15 year olds in the small village of Yaghdan. The village was filled with people who in the last one hundred years had immigrated to Armenia from Greece. The Greek presence was obvious on a lot of the cloths the kids wore because there relatives in Greece sent them t-shirts with Greek writing and a few people even spoke Greek. The camp was a lot of fun and lasted ten days, which was a lot of time but a good way to start off the summer.
During the time I was at camp my friend Ashley left back for the states. Ashley was a Fulbright student in Armenia who also attended Baylor at the same time I did but we had to go half a world away before meeting. She always let me stay at her apartment when I was in Yerevan and in doing so she saved me a lot of Dram, but it isn’t the free housing that I will remember her by. She will be missed but I think I’ll see her hosting 20/20 one day.
The forth of July also came and went and I spent that time at Lake Sevan with my fellow Peace Corps friends. It was a lot of fun because not only is a large body of water the place to spend the Forth of July but I also went to a water park and for the first time in over a year I got in clear clean pool water which was great. I also ate some good food and made a fruit dip that everybody liked so much they didn’t believe I made it, but that’s okay because I just won’t give them the recipe. In other happenings I will be getting a site mate for the coming year and another soon to be volunteer is moving just a short thirty-minute walk from my town. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also visited the country. I didn’t get to see her but it was exciting that she came. Also, the tittle of this blog represents that this past month I passed the half way mark. I've been here for 13 months and have only 13 more to go! Time can pass really fast. Lets just hope it doesn't slow down anytime soon.