24-year-old Diana Pahramazyan had her third child on December 7, 2022, the same day when the Lachin Corridor was blockaded and Artsakh (NK) was under siege. The young woman says that at that time she could not even imagine that she would celebrate her little daughter’s first birthday far from her native place, in a half-ruined house in the village of Surenavan, Ararat region of Armenia.

The Pahramazyan family is from Martuni. Diana’s husband, Ashot, was engaged in cattle breeding in the village. “I was born and raised in the village of Chartar, after I got married, I moved to the village of Mushkapat,” says Diana.

The mother of three children remembers the difficult months of the siege, when there were no basic necessities and food, and she tried to make sure that the children did not lack anything. “In the village, it was relatively easy; someone was planting something, eating it… but it was very difficult… what happened is unforgettable… Looking back now, we remember that difficult period, when there was nothing, and we also remember our childhood days in our birthplace… our birthplace is there. Can you live anywhere else like in your birthplace?”

The family was able to take only the TV from the house when they left. “What you see here is given by our neighbors: we have nothing here… We had everything in our village, in our house: 65 head of cattle, land, two houses, a car… We hardly threw ourselves into the car and reached Stepanakert, only to save our family and children … Everyone had left the village, we alone were left. The shells were falling right near our house, the children were terrified,” says Diana’s husband, Ashot. He says that they moved to Armenia in a Niva car, and there were eight people in that car. “I hope that one day we can go back. When I wake up in the morning, I remember our village, I remember our house… My cousin was killed, and so was my aunt’s son. Both in the positions… Who would have imagined that we ever could leave Artsakh? “Every day we thought it was going to be fine sooner or later, and that’s how we passed the days,” says Ashot.

Now he works in one of the nearby factories, but he says that his salary is paid every three months, and the money he receives is not enough to take care of his family’s needs.

“During the last cold months, we brought wood to heat the house: there is no gas here. It was very difficult, we didn’t know if we should spend the funds we had on buying wood or buy things necessary for the children… now it’s summer, but when it gets cold again, we don’t know what we will do. Now everything is uncertain for us… If a person has his own roof, everything else can be established. If he has a small piece of land, a person can build everything.”

Ani Gevorgyan

Ani Gevorgyan is a journalist, photographer, and the winner of the Freedom of Speech Award. She has participated in photo exhibitions at the UN headquarters (New York) and the Geneva office, the Palace of Europe (Strasbourg), Paris, Rome, Berlin, Vienna and elsewhere.

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