Farming during the Heat-Razmik Madoyan


At the age of 71, Razmik Madoyan, a grandfather of seven, sits in front of the television and watches his favorite game of soccer. Knowing he has cancer and time is running out most of his day consists of watching soccer and writing books. Seven years later at the age of 78, he lies on his favorite black chair, and tells his story of how he had to work at a very young age in a farm in Lenakan harvesting crops  to support his family during the time of World War II.



I lived in Lenakan during World War II. I was 16 years old. I was going to graduate the next year. I would go to work with my grandpa and with a bunch of other people such as Vardan, Hayk, Armen, Astgik, and Shushan, because I was the only one that was ready to work in my family. After my grandpa I was the one that was able to work and thatís why I went. I went with love. I did that job knowing that I would help my family.



 I was the youngest one of the group which, was consisted of maybe ten to twelve people. Over there the people were of old age. They were my grandpaís age people. During that time the city would get a bunch of men/women and take them to the villages to work, because the men from the villages had gone to work, and there was only women left. The women were not capable of working on the farm alone and thatís why they would get men from the city to work at the villages. We would make a deal with the city by telling them that we will give you this many food and the city would have to give us that much money. It was my grandpa who dealt with those problems.



It was during my summer brake, that we would go to work in the morning about six or seven, everyone with their tools on their backs me with my tool. The place where we went from was about 2 miles 2.5 miles away from the work place. In the mornings we would go early to harvest and when the sun set I would go home and eat dinner. Then we slept. There was nothing like a movie or another place. It was a village a small village.



They would give more work to me then other workers but I was working very well. I would straighten out the field and then after it was ready to get picked up I would pick the crops on the field. I would then put it in a pile so it could be picked up. I liked it. I liked doing field work because it was around nature. We collected grain from one side of a city and I completed that work with joy.



There wasnít a day that we didnít work. We worked all day. We went to work not to pass time. Every day was just the same. They didnít differ from each other in any way. The first day they brought this kind of soup and it tasted so good to me because I had worked too much and I ate it with joy... It was an ordinary job, it was a villagerís job. It was not a different profession and after two hours of working time you knew how to do it.



When the others went to rest I kept on working. I would always say let me finish this one work and then Iíll go rest. They would always get mad at me and tell me thatís enough working come and rest. I worked very well and my feet would get stiff because I had worked more than I should have. My grandpa would put some stuff on my legs and after two days the pain was gone. But it didnít matter I would still work by overcoming the pain. I was able to go back early in the morning and I was able to do my job joyfully. I felt good, I didnít feel bad.



I approximately worked on the farm for fifteen to twenty days.  It was very good for my family because we got a lot of wheat and crops and it helped us because during that time in the war the bread was not a lot and an individual was given 300 grams of bread. After twenty days I didnít want to work anymore. I missed the city. I had missed home and my friends and similar things and I decided I needed to go back home. I said Iím going. As much as they tried to persuade me to stay it didnít work The head of the group said Razmik donít go, Iíll pay you more, but I said no Iím going to go even if you pay me more. They didnít want me to go but it was in my mind and I couldnít let go of it. I had made up my mind to leave. I had to prepare my homework and I needed to buy some new books. It was my choice. My grandpa didnít have a habit of saying no you will not he saw that I wanted to go and said let him go.



I did do some friendships with the workers, but not likely because we would work and then go to a place usually on the grass and sleep. Those people treated me like their own son. Most of them I didnít even see again.



I wouldnít do that job again. No, why would I? Iím an artisan. Well I would try it for fun because I love to work with soil. I love to work in nature but I got a better degree and became an artisan. Why would an artisan work that job?


Interviewed by Ruben Telliyan