41-year-old Narine Safaryan walks through the half-dark rooms of the house and shows which parts of the floor her 10 children sleep on.
“My son, Mart, and Gagulik, my sister’s son, sleep here,” says Mrs. Narine, pointing to a small bed. In another bed similar to the previous one or smaller, she and her five-month-old child Gayane sleep. “My daughters, Lyudmila, Anna, and my son, Raffi, sleep on the floor.” The husband and sons are sleeping on the floor of the other room
The 14-member Safaryan family displaced from Chartar city of Artsakh temporarily settled in a four-room house in Masis city, where the families of Narine Safaryan’s sister and the later’s brother-in-law also live. Four rooms are divided among 23 people.
“My eldest son Murad is 23 years old, Anna is 19, Lyudmila is 16, Arman is 14, Piruza is 10, Rima is 9, Marat is 8, Eva is 5, Raffi is 3, and Gayane is five months old,” says the mother of many children and notes that her eldest son is married pregnant and has one child.
No accommodation was yet found for them in the homeland.
“Primarily, we need a house so that we can settle down, the children can start going to school,” says Mrs. Narine, who came out of the Artsakh blockade but thinks about ways to face new challenges after the loss of her homeland. “If we have our own house, land, we will work, we will live. We will plant potatoes, beans, greens, everything: we will not sit idle.”
The conversation about current social issues is very short. The family cannot stop remembering their home city Chartar. “It iss a terrible thing: we lost our home,” says Narine Safaryan and remembers the cruel moments when they had to leave their home and were forcibly displaced from their native Chartar.
“We stayed in an “Ural” truck for six days, it was raining, the children were very scared. There was a moment when there was no water, I took the bottle and asked for water for my children, a piece of rice, sugar, so that I could at least give Gayane tea. We managed to take only clothes from home for the little ones, the children got cold and got sick on the way. Arman fainted on the way, people helped him.” The large family had to face the war crimes of Azerbaijan on September 19. Narine Safaryan hid the children under the bed, then they went to shelters in the city and returned home only late in the evening.
“We gathered in a room in the house that was more or less safe, I put the children to sleep on the floor until the sunlight would come on. After two days, we were yold that everyone is leaving the villages and cities. There was no one left in our quarters, everyone left in their cars, we didn’t have a car, we lived near the forest. I went to the City Hall and asked the mayor, ‘What should we do?’ He replied, “There is a truck: if you find a driver, let him take you out. I said we don’t have one. He said go home and wait. But we were also afraid.” Narine and the children were rescued by an “Ural” truck from the neighboring village, Sus, whose driver expressed his willingness to take them out of the city with his own family.
At the entrance to Stepanakert, the armed policemen of Azerbaijan checked the civilians, after which they let them go. After reaching Stepanakert, the family lived outside, in the treets, for five days. Their further actions were not coordinated by any state institution or official.
“We were sleeping outside, we got a piece of vinyl to cover the car, we were cold. The Turks were constantly passing by us and smiling, and the Russians were with them. After staying there for five days, we set off and reached Vaik in two days. At the Hakari bridge, the guards entered our car and checked who was there. They dropped the men off, they said you’ll walk, then get in your car and go,” she says and remembers how happy they were when after crossing the bridge they were greeted by Armenian policemen, who gave them water and food.
The family now hopes to have a permanent address in Armenia, to live and build their country. 14-year-old Arman is already thinking about serving in the RA Armed Forces. He asks. “They will take me to the army, won’t they? I want to serve.” Until then, however, he is thinking about finding a job. He says that he has done various jobs in Chartar. He is also interested in continuing his studies at school. The certificate of the 8th grade was burned in the Civil School, he is worried about how he will be admitted to the school.
Anna wants to continue her profession as a designer, but she didn’t have time to get her diploma: the forced displacement didn’t give her time. Anna also did not take clothes for herself; she thought about the needs of her younger siblings so that they don’t get cold on the way.
The Safarians want a house, a plot of land to work and live. They do not want to leave Armenia.
Those who want to help the family can contact our office and provide their phone number and other relevant information.