Three sisters from Gyumri
Ter-Avetisyan sisters – aged 80, 85, 88 – have donated 700 000 Armenian drams to Hayastan All-Armenian Fund during the last two years.Together with colleagues of mine from the Fund we visited sisters Aspram, Anahit, and Gohar, now based in Gyumri. The somewhat vague sentiment of gratitude that we had for them before the visit, changed gradually into a more distinct feeling of reverence and admiration for these aging ladies, while talking to them.
The flat was clean and cozy and nicely warm too. The daily care with which the landladies treated their home was evident. Everything was available for a decent but non-ambitious life-style. In no time, fruit, sweets and coffee appeared on the impeccably clean table cloth from the 1980s.
The photo of the family father was hanging high on the wall. “He is 40 here, in America in 1920, where he had gone to work. The photo was taken right before he left for Armenia,” went on to tell Anahit. Another photo of their mother was hanging across the wall on a century-old but well-preserved carpet, which was made by their mother as part of her dowry before she got married.
To our comment that that they look very good for their age, Aspram joked in reply, “we had no man in our life.It happened so that we didn’t get married. However, we all are educated. I am the only one with colleague education and worked as pedagogue at the kindergarten,” said Anahit with a candid smile.
Their elder sister Gohar is a bed-bound since 1991. Despite her age, and health problems, her mind is quite bright. The younger sisters look after her.
Thus, we witnessed an astounding example of kinship, care and devotion.
“We don’t normally go out. How can we with Gohar in bed? No, no… I am always beside her. Aspram goes out every now and then to do the shopping and pay the bills.” For an instant the broad smile disappeared from Anahit’s face. “She was washing the dishes, when she fell down and…, ” recalled Anahit the incident.
I was interested why the sisters had decided to make donations to the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund.
“I sold my flat in Yerevan and moved to Gyumri together with my sisters. We like it here,” went on to explain Aspram. We live on the interest received from the bank; that’s more than enough.
“We learnt to assist people from our father. He had a small shop in Gyumri located near the orphanage. My father used to give loafs of bread or some sweets to the orphans. We were persecuted because of the shop and, in fact never really benefited from it. We went through hard times,” recalled Anahit. We have always helped when there was a chance. When Chegnavorian organized his fundraising campaign for Gyumri, we also contributed. As for the Hayastan Fund, we saw it on TV and decided to support its projects, too.”
We tried to find out how we can help the sisters.
“We have relatives; we are not alone. One of my nephews lives in Gyumri with his family... He comes to see us every week . He brought these carnations, when he came to see us last,” said Aspram pointing to the white flowers on the table. “We don’t need anything.”
I gave the sisters a warm hug. We did not these people only two hours ago but firmly believed that this is what a Hayastan All-Armenian Fund donor is like. We promised to visit them again, this time with photos. We wished all the best to the sisters - Gohar, Anahit, and Aspram.
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