Nune Hakobyan from Artsakh, a third-degree disabled 52 years old woman, lives in a garage with her three children, her husband, her mother and her brother’s child: all together seven people. She is very satisfied and happy for being able to find at least this garage. It was relatively cheap, just 80 thousand drams [a little over $200], and one can say that one has a house.

When Nune arrived, there was nothing in the garage except a single bed.

Yesterday, Nune bought a second bed, and finally she can stop sleeping on the ground.

Now there are two beds in the garage, on which Nune’s mother sleeps with her grandson, and she sleeps with her two children.

The husband sleeps on a small couch, which was given to the family by kind-hearted people. There is also a broken couch, on which the eldest son sleeps. So, there is no one sleeping on the ground, and Nune doesn’t need another bed. “It’s okay, we’ve settled in,” says the woman.

Nune Hakobyan was a resident of the center of Horatagh village of Martakert region. She was respected in her native village because she did important work: she was a medical nurse in the Therapy and Physiotherapy Department. Then they took her to the Statistics Department. There, the living and the dead were mixed together, and Nune had to put order in the registers of the dead. She lived and worked until the war entered her house.

Not that she didn’t know what war was. Her husband, gold mine worker Samvel Hakobyan, was a participant in two wars: in 1992 War and in the Four-Day War in 2016, after which he became disabled. But this time the Grad [both the rocket of Soviet production, as well as the rocket launcher are called Grad] reached Nune’s house.

“On September 19, at 12:30, the bombardment started, I grabbed the children’s hands and ran down the school basement. The only thing I took with me were the documents. We stayed at the school for a day. In the morning, after dawn, a car stopped: it was Vardges, our neighbor. He said, ‘Nune, collect your children, we are going to Stepanakert’. I didn’t enter the house again: the men didn’t let us go and get some clothes because there was a Grad working here. And indeed, the Grad hit right near our house. We stayed at the airport for five days: we wandered in an empty field during the days and slept in the car at nights,” Nune recalls the days when she became a refugee. She fled to Goris, then to Yeghegnadzor, where she heard about the cheap house in Gyumri and went there, entered that house and started living from scratch. All she had were the 40,000 drams [about $100] she received as and aid from the administration of Martakert in the last day in NK, and the first aid medicines for the children.

Nune Hakobyan’s younger son, 11-year-old Gurgen Hakobyan, suffers from epilepsy. In the past, he used to fall into seisure once every couple of days, now — two-three times a month, but each time he has 4-5 convulsions a day one after the other.

“It is impossible to describe: it’s terrible when he starts shaking. But I know how to do the first aid. I don’t touch him, I push him aside, I have Diazepam in my hand, I give the injection, I don’t touch him anywhere: he comes back by himself,” says the experienced nurse.

The 15-year-old girl, Margarita, is also disabled. She has mental problems. After the war of 2020, she also got epilepsy. The doctors said it was because of fear. “She is inattentive. Se looks somewhere with a frozen look. To another place. When you talk to her, that’s when she looks at you. But she is silent. She does work at home, bakes bread and cooks stuff with her grandmother, and at that time she is lively, but most of the time she is stuck in silence, says Nune.

The other child, the 14-year-old boy, is healthy, only short-sighted. “God spared him,” Nune explains. She too has an eye problem: she has been blind in one eye since her birth. “One of my eyes is atrophied since the day I was born. If they came, cut off my left hand, put it in my pocket, I wouldn’t see it. My lungs are sick, I have high blood pressure. I have disablity of the third degree. But it’s okay, we live,” says the woman.

When asked by what she needs, she says: only a washing machine.

“We have hot water, I do the laundary by hand, one day I wash, then I lie down for three days. I am unable to do all of the laundry at once. I put the bathtub on the table, sit on the chair, do little by little: it’s OK,” says the disabled Nune and remains silent.

The Hakobyans received the aid of the government of the Republic of Armenia in the amount of 100 thousand drams {about $250-260]. But the money has already run out, because they didn’t have any belongings: they bought a bed, clothes, bedding, household items: “pots, teapots, spoons, bowls, whatever we need besides food, I bought and brought here. The food was given by the municipality, the regional governor’s office, and the “Hayordats House” [a church-affiliated youth organization]. Yedigarian Astghik gave me a box of food from “Hayordats Tun”. Nune and her children are grateful to everyone.

Syuzan Simonyan

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