Saturday, June 11, 2005


Courtney arrived after quite the journey by boat from Greece and by bus through Georgia and Turkey. She had some great stories and her trip went smoother and faster than we both anticipated. She arrived arrived Wednesday night, two days earlier than I had expected.

On Saturday, we went on a Birthright Armenia excursion to Gyumri. Gyumri suffered an incredible amount of destruction during the 1988 earthquake. We met with a USAID employee who briefed us on the situation in Gyumri. Though the situation has certainly improved, there are still over 3,000 families who were displaced from their homes because of the earthquake who are waiting for USAID/Armenian government vouchers to purchase new homes.

We also met with the director of an art school in Gyumri that has over 350 students. Considering the financial resources of the school, that is an amazing figure. To keep the school running, students sell art work they have produced. The school also serves as an orphanage to about 20 children. During our tour of the school the students performed a dance for all of the volunteers.

After Gyumri we visited a fortress in the town of Talin. The fortress is still in quite good condition and we were able to see an underground tunnel that is said to have reached all the way to Sevan (37 kilometers).


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