The most active and courage is Tatul, a 6th grader, who has lived in the area for seven years. He moved here from a village, where he was able to play freely. In Gyumri, however, he recalls being forced to ride his bicycle in the apartment building foyer because the road outside was in such bad shape.
Two months ago, Tatul’s brother was born. Now, Tatul worries that the baby will not have a safe place to play, either.
“The village is quieter, you are free, there it isn’t muddy, it’s clean,” Tatul says.
He adds that there are no broken building stones in the yard there, so it was easy to ride a bicycle. “I would like to clean up the stones from everywhere, to fix everything. I would like to make beautiful playgrounds for my brother. It would be great if there were a normal soccer field so a child could play there”.
Tatul notes that local residents also need to do more to keep the area clean, recalling that he has seen adults throw trash in the street.
A few steps away, Aida — who is the same age as Tatul —cleans nuts with her friend Ashot.
She says the children make up lots of games, despite the lack of a real yard. But, Aida agrees with Tatul that the trash is a real problem. ”This place is surrounded by rats. If they clean this garbage, we will be able to live comfortably and play here. There are many rats behind the building.”