At 73, Julieta Hakobyan is no less capable of working on the land than her son and daughter-in-law. She grows crops to feed her family and to sell to support her grandchild who is serving in the army.
As with many inhabitants of the village of Arevashat in Armavir Province, Julieta began work on the land in late afternoon. When the Hetq.am correspondent approached her, she was working on the field adjacent to her home with her son and daughter-in-law. Though of a respectable age, she hoisted a bundle of metal rods on her shoulder, moving them from one end of the field to the other to build a small greenhouse to house the herbs she planted in the fall.
Seeing us, she stopped in her tracks, examining the camera, audio recorder and in a low voice asked, "What is going on?" She took a few steps forward and smiling, greeted us. After an intimate conversation she began to talk about her everyday life.
"Now that I'm suffering it's not good, dear, but I'll cover the herbs and then it'll be good. We'll sell them, we'll have money — that's not so bad, is it? I have a grandchild [who's a] soldier, well shouldn't I work so that I can buy good things for my soldier and send them [to him]? That's why I'm rushing; otherwise I don't think about my [own] stomach," she said.
Like many, she too has health issues: her blood pressure goes up in the evenings and her back and legs hurt. But she overcomes all the pain, not sitting down and wallowing in sickness. "Now it's the century of dying and living: whoever works will live; whoever doesn't, will always complain that he lives poorly and will spend a day hungry," she revealed.
Julieta urged people to pin their hopes on themselves and to have expectations from no one, not even the government.
"If a person has nerve, he will live; otherwise, it's all a lie. How is the government going to help? Will it come bring me money? No, it won't. They bring fertilizer and diesel fuel cheaply and distribute it — isn't that enough? In no country does the state come and bring [something] and says, come without working, sit and eat. We have to work. I too want to relax, sit under the sun and do nothing, but if I remain hungry, to whom should I complain, who will come bring it to me? No, dear boy, as long as I have strength, I must work, help my children. I'm old, [and] I do as much as my strength allows me and I check on the youth," she said, working quickly and placing the bent rods in the earth.
The 73 year-old woman can't understand those who live in a village and go to bed hungry. "Honestly, I'm embarrassed to tell someone I don't have money. Who should I tell? They will tell me: you have hands, you have feet — cultivate your land and eat. They would be right to say this, so why shouldn't I work?" she said and bid adieu. "Let us be healthy and always work — there's nothing wrong with work. You're young, let me not take you away from your work, you too go work."