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Published: July 23rd 2008
Izzy's birthday present from a villager, of a soccer ball with 2 doves on top
Hi All, Gayle here posting for the first time.
Today was yet another extraordinary day full of adventure and amazement.
We began by going to Levon's chambers of wonders, in a nearby village outside of Yerevan. Levon has spent the last 23 years digging, what was supposed to be a root cellar beneath his house, but has turned into an inspired response to visions sent to him in his dreams. He now spends (20 hours a day till recently) 12 hours a day digging tunnels and chambers through rock and tufa (the local pumice stone). It most resembles a subterranean grotto -- and it is quite a feat! According to our sources he has only left the site to attend his 4 daughters weddings.
Levon says that he is to dig for 27 more years, until he's 94, and then he will die, with the project completed, when he's 96. Each of us had the opportunity to use his chisel and hammer to give it a go, but were unable to make more than a dent in the rock! Need I say that we were not asked to become his apprentices? Actually, he only does this work by
in the cave
Descending into the inspired wonderland
Later in the day we once again piled into our large van, picked up the priest, and were driven back to Kor Virap (the village we were working in) to attend a house blessing for a recently completed Fuller Center home. We put great trust in our driver, Melik, who seems to be able to swerve at the last moment in order to avoid collisions. Upon arriving at the family's home, we were seated and treated to an Armenian feast, consisting of 20 or so different dishes. We were told that a lamb had been sacrificed for the celebration, and all of the best parts (organs of course!) were displayed for our nourishment. My favorite was the incredibly fresh, smoked chicken, which is barbequed (baked) in the same oven where lavash is cooked.
Countless toasts were made, followed by a shot of vodka. The owner and his father thanked everyone and both men toasted the women volunteers, saying that they were greatful and surprised by the way the women worked so hard along side the men. The priest and others spoke to the importance of the cultural exchange that happens when people from different parts of the
world come together to do this kind of work, even if they would normally perceive themselves to be the other's enemy.
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