Koghbavan: A One Road Village in Armenia’s Armavir Province
Still several hundred meters away, I already saw that the wind had engulfed Koghbavan in a layer of dust.
Now at the gates of the village, I was hit with the impression that this Armavir community of stone and dust was down on its luck.
The ubiquitous trees, to be found in the yards of each house, were full of dried out branches. In the distance, I could see the mounds of drying manure, standing out like sentinel forts.
Koghbavan resident Mrs. Susanna was cooking tomatoes, the wind driving the fireplace flame left and right.
“We have gotten used to these conditions. We burn dung in summer and winter. Life for women in the village is not easy. Instead of standing in front of a gas stove, we cook our meals in the dust,” says Mrs. Susanna, wiping away the dust from her eyes.
Most people in Koghbavan are engaged in cattle breeding. The location is convenient, and the animals supply the dung for use as winter fuel. The village lacks natural gas.
“Everybody in the village raises cattle. They burn dung all winter. There is no fuel problem. They don’t have to pay for it,” says Koghbavan community leader Serob Serobyan.
There are 178 people registered in Koghbavan, but there are really fewer. Some go to work abroad. The whole village is laid out on one street. There are only 35 houses in the village.
There is almost nothing in Koghbavan. This is how the five-year community development plan is written.
“The problems in the village are countless. There is nothing in the village… In this small community, cut off from the world and civilization, the essential attributes for life are lacking,” reads the Five-Year Community Development Program.
The village still has no drinking water. It is brought in from the neighboring Yervandashat community, and these costs are borne by the village administration.
Water pipelines are now being installed in the village and these days and Serobyan says they will have water as early as November 20. The project is jointly financed by the government and the municipality in a 60/40% ratio.
While the water issue is scheduled to be resolved soon, community residents have no hope of ever having a kindergarten, a school, a cultural center or a library.
There are no stores in Koghbavan. Residents must shop in the neighboring village or drive 33 kilometers to Armavir.
This year, the municipality purchased a minibus to transport children back and forth to the school in the village of Vanand, eight kilometers away.
Koghbavan has only eight school-age children. Mayor Serobyan says their number can’t sustain a school in the village.
He doesn’t expect natural gas any time soon. The cost of piping it in is too prohibitive.
A 2004 project envisaged bringing gas to Koghbavan, Bagaran and Yervandashat from neighboring Vanand, but the construction company and the owners stole the funds.
Koghbavan allocated 35 million drams to the project. The money was never recovered.