50.50

I am lonely and miss talks with neighbours

How can I be afraid of the pandemic? I’m living without any means and I’m still alive! I don’t even die. #HumansofCOVID19

Galina Amirkhanyan
16 April 2020

I’m 84 years old. For the last fifteen years, I've been living alone in a shack in a village in Armenia without water and electricity. For my basic needs, I’m forced to carry buckets of water and chop wood to heat the shack.

I got this woodshed from my elderly neighbours. For five years I’ve been taking care of them and they let me live in their garden shack.

When I first came here, there were only mice, nothing else. I don’t even have any property documents or the residence registration. That’s why I don’t receive any allowance from the state.

My only income is the pension [40,000 AMD - around 80 USD]. That’s what I live on.

I’ve always had a tough life since my childhood. I was raised in difficult circumstances. I was 18 when my mother passed away. Then I was alone, without family and relatives. I suffered a lot in my whole life.

Regular washing of hands is said to prevent the infection. But I don’t have any drop of running water in my shack, so how can I fight against the pandemic?

For many years, I worked in the Alaverdi Copper Factory and I had a first-floor apartment as a factory employee. At that apartment, I always had plumbing problems and had to clean all the drain water by myself.

Then I got married, and had a daughter. My husband died suddenly and I raised our daughter alone. Years later, she got married and had seven boys. I brought up and supported them. I was always there for my family. I even sold my apartment to get money for my son-in-law’s treatment. But now I’m all alone.

The quarantine made my life more difficult. Yesterday I woke up to find out I have no medicine left. The lockdown left me no other chance than walking a few kilometres to buy the necessary medicine.

I don't have anything in my life

Amid the coronavirus, regular washing of hands is said to prevent the infection. But I don’t have any drop of running water in my shack, so how can I fight against the pandemic?

For maintaining my personal hygiene, every day I get two or three buckets of water from the neighbours’ houses or the nearby school.

The schoolchildren used to give me a hand. Even during the quarantine, when the school is closed, they’re passing by me and ask: “Granny, what can we do for you? We can bring you water or wood.” I assume that they will be the only ones who will cry and mourn me after my death.

I’m not scared of coronavirus or death. I don’t have anything in my life but I’m still alive. I don’t even die. What can I do if my death hasn’t come yet?

The worst thing about the lockdown and social distancing is that I can’t talk to my neighbours. I don’t worry about myself, but I’m scared for them. I wish the pandemic to be over so I can have my small talks with them and feel alive again.

[As told to Tatevik Hovhannisyan]

People over the age of 65 are more at risk of getting seriously ill and dying from COVID-19. Over 15% of the Armenian population are aged 70 and over. At the time of publication, Armenia reported twelve COVID-19 related deaths and nine of these were of people aged 70. Armenia has declared a COVID-19 related state of emergency and people are required to stay indoors unless they are shopping for groceries or medicine.

This story is part of our Humans of COVID-19 project: lifting up voices from across the world that are not being heard during this crisis. Click here for more of these stories

US election: what's going on in Trump's must-win states?

Our editor-in-chief, Mary Fitzgerald, is on the ground in key US battleground states – follow her on Twitter @maryftz for live updates.

There's never been more at stake. But the pandemic has kept many foreign journalists away. Hundreds of international observers who normally oversee US elections aren't there.

Can we trust the polls? What's the blanket media coverage not telling us? Hear Mary describe what she's seeing and hearing across the country, from regular citizens to social justice activists to right-wing militias arming themselves for election day.

Plus: get the inside scoop openDemocracy's big 'follow-the-money' investigation – breaking soon – which lifts the lid on how Trump-linked groups are going global with their culture wars.

Join us for a free live discussion on Thursday 29 October, 5pm UK time/1pm EDT.

Comments

We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram WhatsApp yourData