The road leads up to the highlands of the village of Koghb. The wagon-home placed on the edge of the village has been transformed into two tiny homes through a cell-like hallway.
63-year-old Misha Yeganyan, together with his wife and his son’s family, is spending the life he has earned for decades in such conditions.
“I’ve four sons; two of them are now serving in the army with a payment contract. One of them lives in Koghb, at his paternal Grandmother’s home, my two other sons also live in Koghb: in rented homes. My fourth son lives together with us, at the shack,” says Misha.
His right arm has been cut from his shoulder. He has lost his arm 20 years ago, at the borderlines of Noyemberyan.
“I used to drive buses in the city of Vanazdor. In 1988, when the Karabagh Movement started, I returned to my parents’ village, to the bordering region of Noyemberyan. I received a vehicle and used to transport the refugees for free to the region of Noyemberyan.
” In August 1990, Misha gets wounded in the village of Baghanis-Airoum. He recalls everything in detail and tells every bit of it.“The Azerbaijanis had retreated. It seemed that they had left the village. But, unexpectedly, we found ourselves surrounded from three sides and they started to heavily fire on us. We had 10 dead and 8 wounded out of the 28 people of the detachment. In the open land, my vehicle was a good aim for the snipers. To defend ourselves, we all entered under the vehicle, and I found a place to hide under the frame. One of the bullets hit the engine and the vehicle started to move. As if that wasn’t enough, another bullet blew up the right tyre. The vehicle was hung up on the side of the road, right on the cliff. Under heavy firing, I flew out of the car. The bullet of the Azerbaijani tore away the three fingers of my right hand. I wanted to hide in the water canal on the roadside, but on that very instant, a bullet hit my right arm. It was of the type that got exploded and it smashed my bone. Another bullet hit my chest.”
Small figured, yet lively Misha shows his disabled body. His chest is covered with scars, while his arm ends a few centimeters below his shoulder. It looks like a tree cut off its branch.
He says that he has also been wounded in his right hip and foot. “Now the nerves of my right foot do not function. At that time I found a way to throw my wounded body in the water canal. I was crawling and wishing not to die there, but on my land.”
The detachment that came to their rescue took wounded Misha and Samo from Etchmiadsin out of the battlefield. “Samo died on our way to the hospital. My face was all covered by blood, I was dusty. They didn’t recognize me at the hospital in Noyemberyan. When the ambulance stopped at the hospital, seeing my blood-covered body, one of the doctors said: ‘This is a dead body, as well.’”
“I was aware of everything, but I wasn’t able to speak. Drawing together all the energy that I had, I was able to utter the name of the nurse from our village. That way, they found out that I wasn’t dead.”
At the Erebouni Medical Center, surgeon Dr. Yervand Shmavonian operated on Misha for several hours. They cut out his right arm right below his shoulder. “The doctors saved my life. I am grateful.”
In quick words, Misha tells everything that had happened to him. There is a framed photograph on the old, worn out cupboard; it’s Misha’s, together with a woman. Both are young, beautiful, and smiling. They have decorated the frame with an artificial white rose.
Misha’s wife, 60-year-old Hranoush Petrosyan, recalls: “I was visiting my hometown, Allaverdi, when Misha got wounded. My relatives brought me to Noyemberyan. Only when I was at the hospital that I found out that they had cut out Misha’s right arm. My husband’s sisters asked me: ‘Now that your husband is a disabled, are you still with him?” At that time my eldest son was serving in the army, and the youngest was only 6 years old. I told them that there is no need to ask such questions.”
The intense emotions are the cause of the diabetes of Mrs. Hranoush. One and a half years ago, she went unconscious and was taken to the Armenia hospital in Yerevan and where she had two heart attacks. She has had another heart attack at Koghb. Mrs. Hranoush is a second degree disabled. Misha is the one who takes care of her. He helps her get dressed, measures her blood pressure. “He’s good at injecting my medicine. He doesn’t hurt,” smiles his wife. It’s been several times that Misha has saved her life.
Each month about 40 thousand Drams ($111 USD) from the dire budget of their family is spent on the medicines of Hranoush. However, the most important issue for the family is that of their home. In November 2006, then Minister of Defense Serzh Sargsyan visited the region. During a meeting with the population, Misha Yeganyan asks Serzh Sargsyan a question on providing the families of wounded and killed freedom fighters with homes.
“I told Serzh Sargsyan that it had been five years that I was preparing application packages of 36 different documents to receive assistance in building my home and sending them to Yerevan, but without any answer,” recalls Misha.
Serzh Sargsyan made a promise to assist, and the Ministry of Defense provided a sum of 3 million 600 thousand Drams ($10000 USD) to Misha Yeganyan.
“I wanted to use the money to buy a house in Koghb, but from our luck the house prices went up. With the money I could have bought just an old shack. I decided to build a one-storey house. But the prices of construction material went up, as well. I built up the walls, covered them with the roof,” says the disabled freedom fighter.
But the strong February wind blew off the metal sheet of 12×15 m of the roof and, swirling it in the air, threw in 20 meters away, in the backyard of their neighbor. Fortunately, no one was hurt. True, the wind has been very strong, but the construction workers have not done a good job working on the roof.
In 2009, Misha once again applied to the Ministry of Defense and asked for help in completing his half- built home, yet he received the answer that the Ministry does not allocate money to the renovation of the homes of dead or disabled freedom fighters. It is hard to live with two families in the space of nine meters of the wagon-home.
“At nights it’s cold in the metal wagon,” says Misha’s son Avedik’s wife, who is from Vanadzor and got married a year ago.
However, Misha doesn’t despair. He thanks God that he’s alive. He continues to struggle. With his single arm, he cuts the wood, digs the ground, and takes care of the goats. In the eve of New Year, Misha received seven sheep from the donors of Hye Dzmer Pap Charitable Foundation. Perhaps another organization could help him complete his half-built home.