I’ll be honest – I wasn’t very excited when Heifer International suggested I visit Armenia last year in one of my trips visiting its projects working to end poverty and hunger around the world. I’d never known anybody who’d been to Armenia, and had barely heard the name Yerevan, the country’s capital. And so, it came as a big surprise to me that I didn’t just like Armenia – I fell madly in love with it.For one thing, the land itself is beautiful. From Mt. Ararat towering just over the treacherous border with Turkey…
….to the dun northern hills that made me think of Afghanistan……to the lush green pastures that support gorgeous orchards of fruit and nuts……to the rocky outcroppings where Christian churches were tucked in the crevasses, hidden from marauding invaders. This is an ancient land with a totally unique history. Armenia is the first Christian country in the world, and is ardently religious still.It was the first country to experience heartbreaking genocide after World War I,
A country in near-constant conflict with its neighbors: Azerbaijan, Iran, and Turkey.
Armenians dearly love to welcome you. And wine you. And dine you. And bread you. And fruit you. And cheese you. And coffee you.
You better come hungry when you visit Armenia, because you’re going to eat.And despite the severe challenges of moving beyond a Soviet mentality to establish an economy that can sustain the young people growing up here (which Heifer is working so tirelessly and creatively to support), there is a tenacity of spirit and national pride that is simply not to be denied.