well my summer vacation was short but interesting. i went to prague a truly beautiful city (i love any city with a river running thru it) salzberg was very beautiful and i got a chance to visit mozart's home and the sound of music show. venice was interesting until i fell into the grand canal passage and came out stinking... and embarresed and i had to walk past st. mark's square where there were a million tourists and forty million pigeons all laughing and pointing at me (i did not know that pigeons can point). nice, monte carlo and cannes are always exceptional. we then drove thru the swiss alps which was the most amazing part of the trip and ended up in lugano which was one of the most beautiful cities i have ever seen in my life. we went to munchen, plzner (where dad had beer) and back to prague. i was with my favorite three people in the world (mom, dad and my husband) so i was blessed. a trip of a lifetime.
we came back to a busy schedule. a trip to armenia by mr. and mrs. cafesjian was coming up fairly soon and we all got busy with preparations. i had never met the cafesjians so i was very excited to meet a man who i have come to respect and admire and a woman with no armenian background but with only love and dedication for the armenian people. meeting with the cafesjians turned out to be a real treat. they were both wonderful, down to earth and passionate individuals. the determination that mr. cafesjian has to make this country a better place is truly unbelievable. the trip was hectic and busy but i still found and saw the magic this couple gives... to everyone around them.
once the visit was done the planning for the cascade summer program resumed. we had three wonderful nights... one of jazz, one night was classical and on september 21st in honor of the republic of armenia turning thirteen, we invited the armenian state dance ensemble... for a magical night of dance. i wish you could all see the fireworks that night above the cascade... truly dazzling. please visit our website for updates and pictures www.cmf.am
the village of garni just celebrated their 4,170th anniversary... when we asked the mayor of the village how he knew that garni was 4,170 years old... he said he knew because ten years ago he remembers they celebrated garni's 4,160th anniversary. the village school #1 looks so much nicer and has a new computer center in it... dedicated in memory of my grandfather ardashes manukyan (mr. caviar)... i am very proud of the computer center and the other work that i helped administer this summer... and i feel really good about the first day of school and how the 900 village kids came to a beautiful new outdoors with flowers and trees and asphalt instead of mud. thank you to all the people who contributed funds, sweat and time.
i am also busily working on the street dog problem. for those of you who do not know... for the past thirty years... yerevan takes care of street dogs by hiring a company that shoots them (with one bullet, often they die bleeding to death buried alive) and throwing them in big graves... the killers receive 500 dram for each tail they cut off the dog before throwing them in the grave. for thirty years this is the pattern and it does not work. the street dog population remains the same at roughly 20,000. we have started a committee and i am sad to report that i am the only armenian repatriate on it. the rest are expatriates from the embassy or americans working here on a project. if you are disturbed by this, please help our cause... and help us get a trap, spay, neuter, and release program going (tsnr program). we need volunteers, donors, and international contacts. although there are many locals who are interested in helping (and they are a big volunteer force) we need diasporans for information, contacts, leads and sponsorship. special thanks to garo from new york who has been our angel thru this process. now we need more dog lovers to unite!
and for all of you who think that street dogs are trivial... and that in this poverty i should be focused on humans instead of animals... i have this to say.
30,000 USD is wasted each year by the mayors office. this is what goes to the killers to "take care of the problem"... a decent tsnr program can erradicate the problem by 70% in its first four years (proven in other cities)... and thus saving the 30,000 so it can go to another cause (perhaps towards humans). the underlying problem here is that the current system is not working and thus it is a waste of time and money not to mention the cruelty of 9,000 dogs shot each year.with all the help this country needs... (and it needs a lot)... this can be one of our contributions. the good news is that our committee rocks. i am hopeful that this blog will make us even stronger. please contact me if you can do anything to help.
i have never logged this long. sorry i rambled. i promise to write more often and not as long.