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Valerik Grigoryan, 60 y/o

We met Valerik at the Mobile Eye Hospital when it was stationed in Ararat.  Valerik had a laser treatment on one eye and a cataract surgery on the other.  As many patients  interviewed before and after the surgery, he seemed to be an ordinary countryman, without anything special to say about  his life, who had his small farm and a family and could express anything else than words of gratitude.

While, it was more important for us to find out what were the real changes he experienced in his life after the treatment. So, we decided to visit his house in Armash village located nearby. Moreover, Valerik strongly insisted that we visit him because he had something to show us.

As soon as we entered Valerik’s house, we saw a surprising transformation of a modest and rather taciturn  man into a joyful and welcoming host. Valerik rushed to show us his garden, full of nicely cultivated greens, fruit trees and grape vines.

Here, he said the most expected words “I have done this very recently, after your doctors opened my first eye with laser” he said. His enthusiasm doubled after surgery when his second eye was cleared from cataract.  As he told us, before, he could hardly walk, and his wife had to lead him to the garden where he had to work without seeing properly what he was doing. The garden is what they have - their only source of income. We witnessed how difficult it is to keep everything around flourishing and green even without irrigation system at all.  Valerik is collecting rain water in unbelievable reservoirs and using every drop of the life-giving liquid.

After showing his garden, Valerik went into his chicken coop and came out with a handful of big chicken eggs. That was supposed to be our lunch. Honestly,  the taste of that freshly prepared scrambled eggs so heartily regaled by Valerik went in  no comparison with food ever tasted in any elite restaurant we knew.
Besides, we met Valerik’s only granddaughter,  four-year-old Hasmik. She stays with her grandparents, because her father is at a military service in Karabakh and had lost her mother couple of years ago.  
It was so sweet to learn what she had once said to her grandfather:  “I will give you my one of my eyes, if you want” she said when Valerik  was practically blind.

Our mission is eliminating
preventable blindness and
making eye care accessible to
all people in Armenia.

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