The operator puts out the signs before I come. Then, with my detector, I start excavating, up to 15 cm deep. I dig as much as necessary to reach the [object] transmitting the signal. The important part of our job is to demine the fields completely, so that they can be turned over to civilians. Let them do whatever they want there, build, plow or just walk. Our job is to check the spots for even the weakest signal and defuse the mines. Of course a landmine in an evil thing, but finding it makes you happy, and so does defusing it. -Anush come on to drink tea. -Thank you, a little later. -We also have coffee. I was born and grew up in Stepanakert. I went to school number 1. Then got married. I have three children. I didn’t work before my divorce. My husband didn’t allow me to work. Of course I had the wish to socialize, but not the opportunity to do it. Even talking about it was forbidden in our home. I had no right to leave the house, or to get a job. Of course, that was no good, and I lived like that for 15 years with my husband. I have been divorced for 6 years already. It was very difficult. There were days that my children had nothing to eat. My father was against my divorce and barred my family members from supporting me. He made my sister kick us out into the street so I would be forced to go back to my husband. He told my mother not to feed us or give us money. Figuratively speaking, all my exits were blocked’ so that I would have to go back to my husband, even at the cost of abuse and beating. That’s the type of the communist my father was. Still, I took a firm stand and said that I would not return regardless of what he did. -Grno
-Hey -How are you?
-I’m ok, you? I worked very hard for a year and an half, but with no result. I could barely earn enough to buy food. I would pay the rent with the alimony and buy food with my salary. The job was 8 am to 10 pm including weekends. Though my current schedule isn’t easy either, at least I am paid well. I can see the result and I have already gotten used to it. To be honest, when we had a two-month vacation, I went mad with boredom. I would prefer to get up at 4 in the morning, go to work, work hard in the snow and rain and rejoice at the rising of the sun. What matters is that you spend your day well. I wanted to become a designer until I was in the 9th grade. However, it was the April 2016 war that influenced me. I realized that our brave boys need to have brave girls by their side. So I decided to become a cadet. This way I fulfill my mother’s dream and continue the job of my father and grandfather. At first, my father didn’t want to let me do it, but then he even came with me to hand in my application. At first, it was a bit unusual to be in a male environment. There are 13 boys and only 3 girls in the class, it felt weird especially since back at school we were 13 girls in my class and just one boy who barely showed up to class. Here when I spoke in class, all these boys would look at me, and it felt a bit strange at first. However I got used to it, and now they accept us as sisters. You see girls of your age wearing everyday clothes or pretty dresses, and you must wear your uniform and military boots. It’s a bit difficult to wear a uniform from 8 in the morning till 7 in the evening, so I change my clothes as soon as I get home. – Bless the Lord, amen… There are girls who think that military college is not a place for girls. There are also those who would like to study here but their parents don’t let them. The boys are sure that it’s not a place for girls. They keep telling me I should quit. In my first year I wanted to continue my education at Vazgen Sargsyan Military Institute in Yerevan. In my second year, I changed my mind. After the institute, you have to serve in the army for 25 years, wearing your uniform and your boots. I think this is definitely a boy’s job. So I decided to go to Yerevan Police Academy. I won’t work after graduation. -Why?
-I don’t know. I want to learn but I don’t want to work. -What do you want to do, then?
-I want to become a good mother. …The doggy came.
Doggy tugged on Granddaughter, Granddaughter tugged on Grandma,
Grandma tugged on Grandpa… Grandpa tugged on the turnip. Everyone is free to choose what to do. Nastya chose her profession herself. I didn’t tell her to choose it. When I was a kid, I wanted to go to the Institute of Physical Culture and to a military college, but my father didn’t let me. So he didn’t let me go where I wanted, and I refused to go where he wanted me to go, because we would have to pay tuition. I told him that I didn’t want to study if I had to pay tuition. I didn’t want to pay for a diploma. I have three diplomas now: one is 19 years old, the other is 17 and the youngest is nine. They are my diplomas. I can’t imagine being next to a man who would tell me what to do and what not to do. I have my own mind; I am the man in this house, and the woman, and everything. I do have a boyfriend, but this does not mean that he is the head of the family and tells me what to do. -Usually it is very cold, that’s why I can’t stay long here. And the living conditions are not good. -Let me add some more water and boil it. -It’s the aunt in both of these pictures, right? -Yes. Lina, hold on a minute. -Mother, is Arkadi still alive? -No. I do not hide my relationship with my boyfriend. This way I don’t feel alone and neither do my kids. Of course he won’t become a father for my kids, but he’s very protective of them. That means a lot to me. -This is when a bomb fell on our house… -Who is this? -Uncle. -Which one? -And do you know who is this? -It’s you. -Mother, is this Aunt Zoya? -It is me. This is Aunt Zoya. Rubik forced us to sit together to take the photo. We are fine although it’s better to have a real family. A family needs to be good. I am doing everything for my kids, of course, but they are girls. A girl would love to be able to say, ‘we are going out with my family: ‘me, my mother, my father and my sisters.’ They don’t have a father … I don’t know, I grew up in a nuclear family and I liked it very much.