Story and Photos by Knarine Ghazanchyan | Program Coordinator | Heifer Armenia
Translated by Liana Hayrapetyan | Communication and PR Coordinator | Heifer Armenia
Armen Mkrtchyan, 36, and his wife Armine, 34, live in Lukashin Village in Armavir Marz, Armenia. The couple has three sons: Aram, 16, Norik, 14, and Gor, 12. The Mkrtchyans are a very friendly, hard-working family and enjoy the love and respect of their neighbors.
The family's cow was artificially inseminated through the Breed Improvement for Better Livelihoods partnership project between Heifer Armenia and Center for Agribusiness and Rural Development (CARD). As a result, the cow delivered a healthy cross-bred bull calf of caucasian and swiss breeds. The three brothers named the calf Bzho.
A couple weeks later, Norik, who is engaged in a Heifer-supported YES! Youth Club received a female calf named Mzho. He plans to raise and pass on its calf to another club member. The first thing Norik does after school is make sure his calf is well-fed and brushed. The boys love the two calves very much and help their parents by feeding the animals, taking them out to pasture and cleaning the barn.
Armine prepares cheese from their cow's milk while Armen and Norik's brothers work in the family's garden growing fruits and vegetables. Norik said he loves the vegetable soup his mom prepares from the cabbage, potatoes, carrots and beets.
Norik's father, Armen, is very successful in the market. All the vegetables he grows sell at a good price. In Lukashin village, Armen is known for his expertise in selling his harvest and his neighbors turn to him for advice when they face difficulties selling their products.
When he has free time, Norik joins his father and brothers in the garden, but prefers taking care of the family's animals. "When my calf grows into a heifer, I would like it to be artificially inseminated," Norik said, smiling modestly. "It results in having a better breed animal. If my animal is artificially inseminated I'll be able to pass on a better animal."