MEDOVKA, Armenia—The All-Armenian Students’ Association began phase one of its Homeland Development Committee project for 2017 three weeks ago, which aims to turn a field in the village of Medovka into a recreational community park.
The park project is the result of the graduation honor cords fundraiser organized by the All-ASA. Khachig Joukhajian, a member of the ARF Levon Shant Student association and a Teach for Armenia fellow, who helped organize the fundraiser by finding local artisans in Armenia, is also implementing the community development project in the village of Medovka, where he teaches Armenian and World History.
The project, which initially set its sights on building an indoor gym and library for Medovka Secondary School, broadened in scope to also build a park for the school and community, a place where students can play and read in peace, unperturbed by the economically difficult conditions outside this little haven. The simple act of putting up a fence, installing soccer goals, and placing benches among the trees, will set the conditions for the youth’s healthy development in Medovka.
Medovka is a small, 500 population village in the northern province of Lori, about 12 miles from Georgia. It sits in a big valley surrounded by mountains and hills, and the winters there are incredibly cold and last longer than in other parts of the country. It’s beautiful, but the weather can be harsh. Thus, the decision was made to build indoor recreation and fitness spaces, for the body as well as the mind, respectively. However, “because the students are confined to the indoors for so much of the year, we decided they should have a space where they can have some fun in the sun too,” said Khachig Joukhajian.
On May 24, the day construction began, Medovka Secondary School also hosted visitors from United World College, a high school in Dilijan mostly composed of international students. They came to do a community service project, which entailed painting and spray-painting artwork on semi-collapsed walls in the park – remnant ruins from the 1988 Spitak earthquake. One of these is a painting of a pomegranate tree bearing fruit, symbolizing new life growing from amongst the ruins.