I traveled to the local village to visit a branch members home.
Erik, also a member of our church, driving us through the village
This lady is the acting relief society president in this branch.
Her husband lost his arm in an car accident and there was no work for him to provide for his family. There is no work period in Armenia, but with no arm, that is considered a handicap, and handicaps come with a lot of shame. Her husband had the idea to collect rocks and cut them into smooth, fine stones. It takes about 4 hrs to do one stone after he polishes them. He pricks a small hole in the center and they are now ready to be worn as a necklace or earrings.
New little bunny for rabbit stew
Rocks he collects
This is their home made out of cement. They plan to build a second room for their son and his expectant wife when they have the money.
I bought enough stones that day to pay half of his year salary, which doesn't amount to much in US dollars, but to them.... this was a good business day. We were laughing because I started to help bag the stones, but couldn't get the bags open. I told them the bags must have been made in another country and then they all started laughing. Surprised my comment would have such an effect. Note to self: make jokes about bags in other countries more often.
Sister Stone warned us that because they don't have much, we should tell them we can't stay long and have another commitment, for fear they would try to feed us. They fed us anyway. They love to eat bitter plums and apricots, the green kind we thin out and throw away in America. They also have yummy cherry juice which is to die for. Oh it's so good. I was careful to leave a little in my glass, so she didn't feel the need to refill it. She refilled it anyway.
They wanted me to try the local candy, Grand Candy. It was a lovely dark chocolate which I brought back for you to try if you choose to visit me. I am fond of the squirrel.
What great people. I only hope to have a ounce of the salt of the earth these people carry.
The Readings took me to the last metro stop to see the ladies make Lavash bread.
Oh my! Was this a treat to see. Here is inside their shop. Wires and cords are typically strung from corner to corner and then docked into the closest socket.
Three ladies work in this little cement building with a pitted fire. Two make the bread, and one to run the shop. One sits on the left and one on the right
They cut the dough and make it into little circles. They don't use much sugar with their yeast either making their bread flat. These ladies are so sweet and just what you picture a bread lady to be.
And away they go! One will roll and toss to the mat made out of old levis. While the other lady picks up the dough, waves it around like a pizza, flattens it out on to the levi cushion and then pats it up against the wall of the fire. Repeat. Taking them out of the fire in between rolling.
Before I knew it, I was summoned over to come and try. At first, I didn't understand what she was saying, then she spoke a little louder with force to get me to come here. Oh she was cute with her powerful Armenian accent. I was delighted. "Not like theeese. Like theeese," she would say as I rolled out the dough.
Other interesting photos from the day
flower shops every where. This gal finished making a wreath for a funeral. When they mourn their dead, it takes place in their house. People crowd around and kiss and hug the person who is deceased. The family will not leave their house for two days.
Plastic Subway Coins
Tape over the crack in the wall, assuming this was a form of measurement
I found the candy isle in the local grocery store!
We later had dinner at Bejing with the Readings. The vegetable cashew even had extra cashews, which is the way I like it. Oh and they had ice, but only by requested.