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Mаry Mamyan

A Visit to a Family in Artsakh with 11 Children

The Margaryan family is known in Berdzor (Lachin) for having the most number of children: 6 boys and 5 girls.

When Hetq staff visited the family, the children were gathered around the heater not only to stay warm, but also to converse with each other. It wasn't a small heater, but there was practically no heat emanating from it. Two of the smaller girls, Lilit and Mariam, were running around barefoot on the cold floor, then rushing to the living room to peek at the guests, smile, and whisper in each other's ears. Their mother, Parandzem, says journalists regularly visit the family, taking an interest in a family with so many children.

Parandzem gives a tour of the house, starting from the cold living room to the even colder bedrooms, one of which belongs to the couple, while the other two are divided between the boys and the girls. There are fewer beds than the number of children, but their mother says there's enough room on the beds for the kids. Asked where the youngest sleep, Parandzem answers, "Well, wherever." Asked whether the family doesn't use the living room for sleeping, Parandzem says, "Oh no, that's a living room. We don't use it for sleeping."

The girls follow the conversation between the adults, smiling, but embarrassed to answer questions by Hetq staff. The most serious among them is the oldest, Lusine, who sits the whole time with a serious look on her face. Only once does she smile and her eyes light up — when she confesses that she wants to be a singer. The other sisters, smiling, confirm that Lusine sings very well.

Later, two of the boys, Andranik and Vahagn, who had gone to collect wood from the surrounding area, come home. Vahagn is in first grade this year, and his mother says proudly that he's good in math. She adds that he helps only the first graders with their homework; the others help each other. For help with their English homework, all go to Lusine. The youngest don't go to kindergarten, since Parandzem doesn't work and is able to stay home with the children.

Asked how she's able to keep such a large family, Parandzem says she gets benefits, and her second son helps with his two jobs, working at school and the utility service. The children's father, Murad, about 3 months ago went with their other son to Abkhazia for work. They collect mandarins, but they're not too happy with the work. Parandzem says they weren't able to make ends meet with her husband's 45,000 AMD (about $110 USD) monthly salary. Asked whether the family receives any assistance, Parandzem answers in the affirmative, saying they always receive help, but adds that recently "they haven received as much help."

Speaking to Hetq, David Davtyan, chief of staff of Kashatagh's provincial administration, confirmed that the Margaryans regularly get assistance such as clothing and food, as well as assistance from Agape charitable organization and the Gurgen Melikyan Foundation for families with many children. Five years ago, the foundation bought a cow for the family; the family also later received a loan from the state to purchase livestock.

Parandzem, oddly however, describes how they lost the cow, saying they now have 3 sheep and are preparing to get another loan to buy a cow, so they can have dairy products. The sheep could be seen through the window. They were surrounded by a few chickens. Asked if the chickens belong to them, Parandzem says, "The chickens are ours. I have 5 chickens."

This is the second house that was built for the Margaryan family. It was built in 2009, after the birth of the 10th child. The neighboring house that belongs to them was also built for them, but earlier. After getting the second house, they moved out of the first house, which they rent out when they get requests. They practically don't go to the first house, saying it's expensive to live in two homes. Parandzem points to the land adjacent to the house, where there are vegetable plots. Asked if she cultivates the vegetable garden, she says yes, but mainly the children do it. It would be good, she says, if the irrigation water problem was solved.

Berdzor residents say the Margaryan children are smart, working kids: they work the entire summer, gathering berries to sell, to help their parents.

Parandzem and Murad moved to Berdzor in 1999 when they had only 4 children. Now their eldest son is married and moved to Vayk. They will soon have a grandchild, while their youngest, Lilit, is only 3 years old. Parandzem is happy that she has so many children — they are gifts from God, she says.

"If God gives, you shouldn't sin," she says. "They're children, after all. If God gives [them], God takes care [them]."


Comments (2)

Ռոբերտ Մաթևոսյան
Հարգելի Արմեն, հիշյալ ընտանիքը բնակվում է քաղաք Բերձորում, կարող եք զանգահարել ինձ 047-752-292/աշխ./ համարով, կամ գրել [email protected] էլ.հասցեով` կտամ ավելի սպառիչ տեղեկություն:
Armen Davtyan
xndrum em tal te vor hasceum e bnakvum ays entaniqe!

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