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Armenia Society

Internal Migration – Every Friday

You would only fully understand this post if you were born outside Yerevan. You see, everything in Armenia is concentrated in Yerevan: education, business, jobs, career.
Add to this the strength of traditional Armenian families, traditional Armenian parents, claiming that they won’t leave their father’s graves and move to that hell – called Yerevan and quite displeased with the fact that their sibling has decided to move to the capital after all that “they’ve done for her!!!”.
…and the final touch: mothers having high blood pressure or imitating heart attack because they miss the child away from home so much!!! The result is internal migration – every Friday evening, after close of business day.
4 years in Yerevan – and I’ve spent more time on the road Yerevan-Gyumri more time then in Church, all my life (OK, I’m not that religous, I admit ;)). 4 years in Yerevan – and I’ve read more books in the minibus, then I’ve done in my 5 years of University study! (Now that’s an impressive figure).
The travel is done in those minibuses – usually Russian GAZELs or Fords powered with natural gas. The sits are crammed together, making sure that each minibus takes 15 people at least x 1200 drams each. That means that with my 1,81 cm height and relatively long legs I can only fit on an aisle-sit, or suffer the consequences. Nobody’s ever heard of air-conditioning of course, and Armenians also have this ideofix, that drought from the open window can kill you, so its often a topic for arguments.
Nobody pays for kids, and kids rarely get a sit on their own. Sitting on the legs of the caring parents when its 36 degrees Celsius outside, and a little more inside the minibus can be a ‘HOT’ experience, so this little one in the photo decided, that he’d rather stand in the aisle.
All in all I’ve grown accustomed to those 2 hour trips to Gyumri on Friday evenings, with all these young faces going home to see Mom & Dad, only to come back Sunday evening or Monday with the FIRST minibus if they make it. Why not? Isn’t this life?

By Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant

1 reply on “Internal Migration – Every Friday”

I have traveled back and forth between Spitak and Yerevan in marshrutkas so many times over the past seven years and the funny thing is, that I still enjoy the trip, despite the annoyances that come up occasionally and the almost always overfull marshrutkas. I love watching out the window and looking at the landscape, it’s always different. Time always flies on these trips.

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