There are 290 families living in the village of Metz Ayroum in Armenia’s northern Lori Marz.
Even though work to get natural gas to the village has been going on for the past three years, these families still are forced to cut down trees and use the wood to heat their homes.
59 million AMD has been allocated by the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the community was supposed to chip in 6 million of its own money.
So far, the village has only been able to invest 3.5 million. Village Mayor Sashik Aroushanyan says when they are able to pay the remaining 2.5 million, the contractor, HayGazKomShin Ltd., will finish the work to get the gas into the homes of residents. The mayor doesn’t see paying the balance anytime soon.
The village kindergarten, which opened its doors in July, still has no lights. The children take their naps in the same room where they eat their meals. It’s the only room heated with a wood burning stove.
Mayor Aroushanyan says that the municipality spends 261,000 AMD monthly on the kindergarten’s upkeep.
Kindergarten Director Kamo Gharagozyan says that’s not enough to provide meals to the children. Parents have to pay 3,000 AMD a month on food.
On the menu the day we arrived was a meatless soup, sour cream and bread. The sour cream never appeared on the table.
The bread portion was tiny. So tiny in fact, that the kids were shouting, “give us more bread”.
Mr. Gharagozyan told us that they purchase small quantities of bread so that it doesn’t go stale.