Archive for March, 2011

March 26, 2011

My child is my reward

The interviewer (Arzu Soltan) met Zumrud Alimatova in her home in Gusar, Azerbaijan. The conversation took place over a glass of tea at Zumrud’s well-lit, spacious, clean house. She felt some uneasiness about the voice recorder and was more outspoken when the recorder was turned off.

I am 38, married. I have three children – a 19 year-old daughter, and two sons – 15 and 10. I’ve been married for 17 years. I am my husband’s second wife. When we married, he already had two children and the two eldest children are from his first marriage. The little boy is mine.

When I was 21, I was married to a different man. I moved with him to a mountainous village and we had a very good life there, with good income. But I had a problem – I did not have children. Twice, I had miscarriages when I was six-months pregnant. I spent my entire third pregnancy in a hospital but it didn’t work again. The child was born after 8 months and lived for only one day. I don’t know what the problem was. All of my blood tests came back negative, I did not have any infection or anything. The doctor said that perhaps my husband’s and my blood types were incompatible but no one did any tests. Unfortunately, this must have been the reason. When I came out of the hospital, I needed to be cared for, so my mother took me to her home. And then my husband never came to take me back. That’s how we separated.

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March 16, 2011

“People my age don’t receive benefits or a pension and we don’t have work. How can you live?”

This is the transcript of an interview with Ruzanna, recorded in Stepanavan, Armenia, on February 13, 2011. You can listen to the interview (in Armenian) here:

I was born in here in Stepanavan. My granddad arrived as a migrant. Not my grandmother, she came from an orphanage. They got married. They had three boys and a girl. Everybody lived here. I have one sister. We are the children of the oldest son. I graduated from the pedagogical institute. I worked in Stepanavan as a teacher for 22 years. I studied in Kirovakan [currently Vanadzor]. I had five children, five girls, who all have higher education. Two are working, one is married and the two others are studying: one is in the last year of her master’s studies; the other is in the second year at Brusov [State Language University] in the Tourism Section. My husband works in a gold mine. First he was head engineer at a building management office. In those difficult years after the earthquake [of December 7, 1988] in which I lost one child… After that we kept livestock to maintain our existence, we gave our children a start in life, we gave them education.

Did you lose your child during the earthquake?

Yes. It was a year and a half old [interviewee did not specify the sex of the child]. The child died during the earthquake in my mother’s house. A five-floor building collapsed. My mother got out. Another of my girls also got out, but my young one didn’t. After that I had two more children. I was pregnant [at the time of the earthquake]. I was evacuated to Ukraine. I gave birth there. They received us very well there. We stayed in Ukraine for three months, until forty-days after the child was born. We went in February; I gave birth in March.

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March 14, 2011

“He divorced me, because I was sick”

The interviewer (Arzu Soltan) met Sadagat Hajieva at her workplace in Baku on March 5, 2011.

How old are you?
30… I am 31

Are you married?
No, I am divorced. Because of my [health] situation.

How is that?

I have neurosis and I also had a problem with my breast which had to be treated at the Oncology Clinic. That cost a lot of money and my ex-husband did not want to bear those costs, so he divorced me.

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March 11, 2011

“I measure the everyday life of our country through the lives of our children”

Below is the transcript of the interview with Donara Galstyan, recorded in Goris, Armenia on January 23, 2011. You can listen to the interview (in Armenian) here:

I have worked with children for a long time, already about forty years. First I was headmistress at a kindergarten, after that administrator of the former Pioneer school children, later center director. Now I am director of the Hall of Combat Glory. This hall is a big museum dedicated to the freedom fighters [from the Karabakh war] and those who died in the Great Patriotic War. It’s dedicated to their traditions, their customs, their events, and sometimes we have memorial events for our fallen freedom fighters. On the anniversary of the Great Patriotic War on May the 26th, we always have a traditional day dedicated to them.

For four years I worked with parentless children at the Siranush camp organized by the Yeghegnadzor-Syunik diocese. There were children of fallen freedom fighters as well; in the last few years only parentless children. During the war years of the nineties, at the children’s center we took care of parentless children from Martuni, Martakert and Stepanakert for two years. For two consecutive summers the children came to us for a vacation. Those war years of the nineties are always with me, through the children’s eyes. I always see them with my eyes as if through their eyes. Can you imagine the parentless children?

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