Tatik and Papik– Grandma and Grandpa. A large stone monument that’s a symbol of Armenian heritage near Stepanakert, capital city of the Republic of Artsakh.
It’s a beautiful mountainous region between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Once a part of historic Armenia, Russia gave it to the Azeri’s in the 1920’s. “For us this territory is very important because this real region of Armenia, even since 9th century B.C.,” says Inna Yengibarian of the Artsakh State Museum.
The territory was at the center of a war between Armenian and Azerbeijan in the 1990’s. A cease fire was declared in 94, and Artsakh declared its independence. “We lost many territories but we resisted here,” Yengibarian says.
Resistance and strength: Armenians claim those attributes proudly. Artist Sarko Meene painted a tribute to Artsakh women on the side of a Stepanakert building. “Women take care of the home, take care of the country while the men are fighting,” Meena says. “So this installation is symbolizing the spirit of the women who take care of the home.”
As this region and it’s predominately Armenian population work to rebuild from years of war, the people get by the best they can. The chance for free care from Fresno’s medical mission doctors is appreciated. The President of Artsakh, Bako Sahakyan shared this message: “I am so pleased to see year after year things are growing together and you are transforming with your team the concepts and thoughts into reality.”
Transforming lives through free medical care. Transforming a region with years of hard work. But there’s one thing the people of Artsakh say will never change. “For us, even if the whole world Artsakh it is still not a recognized republic, but for us, it was, it is, and it will be an undividable part of Armenia,” says Yengibarian.