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The Valley’s Armenia: Families Serving on the Mission Together


   As with most cultures, in Armenia family is everything.  Communities poor financially, are rich in other ways.  And the Medical Mission Team from Fresno noticed.  “Oh I fell in love with Armenia.  The culture is amazing.  The people are welcoming.  Very family oriented,”  says Mission Member Dr. Bobby Eghbalieh.

   Dr. Eghbalieh served on the mission team last year.  He was so moved by the need and impact, his brother, Surgeon Sammy Eghbalieh joined the team this year. They even operated together.   “Being able to take that as individuals and put it together, it’s really an enriching experience.  We learn from each other.  We’ve always learned that,” says Dr. Sammy Eghbalieh.

  The brothers were not the only family members who donated their time.  Internist Dr. Ara Soghomonian brought his Daughter and Fresno State Student Olivia for his 3rd mission trip and put her to work.  “She asked to come with me.  I couldn’t say no.  And she has to do some work.  She has to contribute something,” Dr. Soghomonian says.  

   Olivia took notes for her dad.  There are no computers here.  She says her first trip to Armenia, has been eye opening, “There’s not as many luxuries here that there are in Fresno.  That makes me appreciate living in Fresno more,” Olivia says.

  In the city of Gyumri, Dentist Dr. Ron Sani of Fresno worked with his wife Michele.  His focus:   screening children in Armenia’s orphanages, many developmentally disabled.  “You kind of have a rock.  somebody that you can depend on.  That you’ve trained to do certain procedures sometimes.  You have a lot of help in the clinic and sometimes not so much,” Dr. Sani says.  Michele Sani says the Mission has been memorable for many reasons. “How positive they are.   How loving they are.  I love to watch families here.  How close they are together laughing,” she says.

  Families serving together in a place far from the comforts of home.  Helping other families live a healthier and happier life 

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