Monday, July 24, 2006


It is inappropriate for me to address this in a post right after I blogged about my pool.

It is inappropriate that my volunteer and friend Shogher from Beirut has to sit here and contemplate her dwindling life options. She's here safely, and her mother thankfully arrived in Yerevan two nights ago, but her father is still in Lebanon. She tells me that the relief situation with her friends and family in Beirut is miserable and getting worse still as there is a growing shortage of food and supplies ( Everything she had planned for her life continues to escape her. She's left an unfinished dissertation, and can't exactly go back to Beirut to graduate and continue her studies. She called the Lebanese Embassy today and asked them if any other countries aside from Armenia offer asylum to Lebanese nationals and the man on the other end laughed at her.

It is inappropriate for Armavia airlines to be profiting from the poor people displaced as a result of this disastrous conflict. Two nights ago two Armavia airliners arrived in Yerevan with 219 people on board. Most of them were Lebanese citizens of Armenian descent. Armavia looks like a hero for helping to evacuate these people- but as it turns out, the company is profiting from these traumatized people in several ways. First they required the refugees to purchase the Beirut-Yerevan ticket, even though they were physically to be flying out of Aleppo, Syria. Why? Because the Beirut ticket is more expensive. Passengers were still required to pay the Lebanese air taxes, AND in the middle of the night, all the refugees were required to pay for visas upon entry at Yerevan's International airport even though they had been told that they'd be granted asylum. It's appalling enough whenever we get ripped off here, it's just disgusting to take advantage of people in a war situation.

It is inappropriate for western media to spin Condolezza Rice's visit to the Middle East in any kind of positive light as a huge step of diplomacy. How can the US pretend to be a peace-broker when it is simultaneously supplying arms to one side!

Most inappropriate is for Israel to continue this ferocious and utterly unjustifiable attack which ultimately victimizes innocent Lebanese citizens.

Friday, July 21, 2006


Don't be decieved. Even we in the business of non-profit work spoil ourselves once in a while. Meet the luxurious paradisal escape from the Yerevan hustle and bustle otherwise known as the Congress Hotel Pool where the self-proclaimed "pool crew" made a wise investment by purchasing memberships, and has spent many an afternoon for the last 1.5 months and counting...Just don't tell my volunteers... ;-)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


This is easily one of my favorite of all pictures I've taken thus far. I set up the shot by adjusting the white balance and using a really slow exposure. Then set the timer and let it go...

Habitat for Humanity

Perfect day for a humanitarian (and hilarious) collaboration...with my predominantly North American AVC volunteers in their 20s, local Armenian residents of Gavar village, and 26 protypical teenagers from Buenos Aires...

Most of the sunny day was spent shoveling sand into buckets, then through longest and loudest assembly line ever (leave it to the Argentinians to sing and dance while doing manual labor...really would you expect anything less?), pass the buckets all the way up to the third, then second, and then first floor bathrooms where the sand will be used for cementing and putting up tiles in this apartment building.