Gyumri was our first stop on the Young Professionals tour of Northern Armenia. Each of us had images from the earthquake in our minds, but sadly no one expected to see a city still so devastated twenty years later.
The charms Gyumri, the second biggest city of Armenia, are today buried under the remnants of the Soviet Union and a layer of rumble that still remains after the earthquake. Visiting FAR’s GTech, Soup Kitchen and Music School projects gave us a unique opportunity to gain insight into the hardships of life in Gyumri, and the work that FAR is doing to improve peoples’ lives in the city.
Next, we moved on to see Alaverdi, and the monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin. Looking at the souvenirs around the Sanahin monastery, I had the opportunity to converse with a local woman selling socks. Next thing I knew, I was drinking coffee and having lavash in her front yard!
Our last stop was in Lake Sevan. Lost in a no man’s land, we enjoyed the serenity and wonderful landscapes. Lake Sevan was the perfect place for the group to chat and form some stronger bonds.