What will I see behind the gates? What is common is written on the sign. But is there anything that is different, not common, personal?
The sign reads “Homeless Shelter”.
“Hans Christian Kofoed” Danish-Armenian charitable foundation shelter is the only one that operates in Armenia. People above 18, having nowhere to live are sheltered here temporarily – for three months. Here 100 people sleep and wake up every day. The residents are from Yerevan, other marzes of Armenia or abroad.
I live, I breathe in and out… A shelter, a corner… A roof, no, I have no roof, I have no personal one, this is called a shelter for homeless people. Yes, I live and have 4 walls. A dream? My dream… I don’t have a dream I think. I have no dream, because I have lost everything.
After leaving the shelter some of these people return to their families, to a self-made life, or leave for abroad, go to other shelter-homes, to some medical centers, find jobs, receive documents, etc.
Inside the gates, in one of the stories of the building, there is a narrow corridor, on right and left sides of which there are rooms. There are beds next to each other in these large rooms, which are for the inhabitants.
My son is 40 already, but he has not married yet… We have dreams to have a bride… I have prepared the clothes for the bride, I have done everything. Just a small corner is needed, even without a roof, just 4 walls, me and my son will live there.
This is a girl like me, but it’s not me. There is a Hovo, he has given this to me. He has found us alike and gifted it. Hovo? He is an inhabitant here. There is a cross, a puppy… I have hung just like that. The wall? It’s a support. Nothing else. My dream… is being with my children, but they are far, they are in Ashtarak, I can’t go there, there are reasons. I walk a bit by the wall, then come back here.
Because I don’t have a wardrobe, I prefer to hang them from a nail, nothing else. The clock… It’s clear, every person needs a clock. This is my calendar, I have received this beautiful flower as a gift, this cross is my protecting angel, this is Mother Saint Mary, and this is an eye-bead, which protects me. This is my make-up, my jewelry box, my everyday prayer book, because I pray every evening… The calendar has changed… I feel good… I like cleanliness a lot. I don’t like many things, but for the New Year I hang chocolates in a sack and balloons. I like when everything is normal, clean. I wouldn’t like to watch at the empty wall.
We try the positive here to organise our life in the right direction…
Why do they renovate their houses, buy beautiful furniture? Why is all this? For the sake of enjoying life, more or less.
I am happy with Nikol and the flag of Armenia. And I am a lover of nature, flowers, green, nature, everything. Our personal happiness is our 4 walls, what is there in here to be happy with? You know what, a person’s honour is his 4 walls, while here there is not happiness. This wall is nothing for me, and I have settled a bit, but it is nothing either, happiness for me is having 4 walls, we have had…
The stories are different here: some are being told, others not. If they are told, then anonymously, without address. The stories are mostly told by the walls. There is some clothing on the first wall, a calendar, ornaments. The other wall has nightgowns on it: they say that this inhabitant is an aristocratic woman – gowns, extraordinary dresses, hats. Other walls….
4 walls are the honour of a person, says one of the inhabitants. 4 walls are the symbol of a house, a shelter, and it is the most widespread topic inside these walls. It is the 4 faceted barricade, which separates you from the outside world. 4 walls is the different, not common, personal.
Yes, this is the Square… I like things like this, that there is something new in our Armenia, good words, good things… that our country develops. The old days are past, like a small child, when he is busy with other things, then he grows up, obtains other knowledge.
“This photo story was funded through a Department of State Public Affairs Section grant, and the opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed herein are those of the Author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of State.“