|Anush Sahakyan, 34, and her husband Kamo, 49, live in Norashen village in the Gegharkunik region of Armenia with their three children: daughters Arevik, meaning little sun, 14; Lusine, from Lusin, the Armenian word for moon, 12; and son Paylak, meaning lightning, 10. In 2010, the family became Passing on the Gift? (POG) recipients of a cow in Heifer Armenia?s Peace to Our Homes Regional Cooperation Umbrella Project. They will pass on the first offspring of their animal to another needy family in 2013. Before joining the project, the family had only a few beehives, and they lived in extremely poor conditions. Now they have a stable source of income and enjoy fresh dairy products.On a recent visit, we found Anush working in the garden. She met us with fresh carrots in her hand.”Since the time we became engaged in the project, a lot has changed in our lives,” Kamo shared. “First of all, now we have fresh milk, butter and cheese for the family consumption. Also, we exchange the milk surplus and the honey we produce with other food in the market, such as meat, sugar, eggs, and rice. Moreover, the trainings organized by Heifer Armenia were very useful for us. We learned a lot about animal husbandry; for example, we learned how to care for the newborn calf, which we now practice with our baby calf. We are deeply impressed by the humane work that Heifer does for rural needy families” Kamo shared.”We are very proud of our cow Sirun, which means pretty. It is a real helper! It gives us more than 20 liters of fatty milk daily,” Anush said with a smile on her face. “This is an excellent indicator. It?s probably one of the best indicators in our village. Here in our region, we have very good highland pastures. It?s a very important factor for milk productivity. Also, the quantity of milk is the result of our good care and the quality feed that we provide to our Sirun cow” Anush added proudly with a gentle smile on her face.
Anush told us that the cheese she makes from the high quality fatty milk of their cow is in very high demand. She has a certain number of customers who visit her every month to purchase the tasty cheese she prepares.
“Selling the cheese and vegetables from our garden, we were able to increase the number of beehives which we have,” Anush said. “Beekeeping is also very profitable. The cow and the bees generate food and income for us. Here, the climate and the highland Alpine meadows are very favorable for apiculture” Anush informed us.
The sun was moving to the horizon, spreading orange-reddish colors to the valleys around, and the buzz of the bees could be heard from the edge of the garden when we were to move on to visit other families in the village. At parting we wished the family new achievements, good luck, and most importantly PEACE, which is so important to have in the mind and in the soul while undertaking any minor or major work in life…
Peace to you and to your family, Anush and Kamo jan!