Feature: Armenian climbs the ladder of success
English.news.cn 2013-11-07 21:47:45
BEIJING, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) — Nune Militonyan clearly remembers the November day 16 years ago when she flew thousands of miles to China from Armenia to be with her husband Deng Zhonggang.
Filled with hope, she arrived at Deng’s home in Zhanjia village, Yaxi township under Rongcheng City, Shandong Province. Hope soon turned to shock and despair.
In the small shabby brick home was some worn-out furniture, as well as a pile of straw for fire in the dark and dank kitchen.
“I was shocked. I cried for a whole night sitting outside of the house,” said Nune, now aged 45. “I thought about going back home, but I chose to stay, for my husband and our seven-month-old twin girls.”
Nune met her husband in a hospital in Yerevan, capital of the Republic of Armenia. Deng, who worked at a mill factory, had fallen ill and Nune was his nurse.
Deng told Nune about his rural home. But it was far from what she imagined.
Zhanjia village only had 180 registered households and most villagers grew peanuts and wheat to earn a living.
Nune learnt how to make rice bread, washed clothes by the river and cut wheat in the fields.
“When I decided to stay, I decided to live well,” she said.
Nune adapted but wanted to live a better life — for her and her family. She hated not having any vegetables for dinner. The stinky outdoor toilet made her feel sick.
“The most heartbreaking fact was that we did’t have enough money to send our girls to kindergarten,” said Nune.
“We started to think of other ways to make money just like other young people in the village,” she said.
To earn more money, Deng went to the city to work part-time. He worked on construction sites and went home once every month.
Nune started to raise chickens in 2002. She soon made 9,000 yuan. The average income of villagers was only 2,000 yuan.
“I was so proud of myself. I used the money to build another poultry shed and a shower,” Nune said.
In 2005, Rongcheng government pumped cash into the city port. The fishery, shipment and tourist industries became key sectors and locals set up businesses, helping boost the local economy.
With a 50,000 yuan bank loan, Nune opened a coffee shop by the port and served Russian sailors.
Her mother traveled to China to help and cooked Russian dishes. Food was free for the first month.
The business now makes between 70,000 and 80,000 yuan in profit each year.
Nune sent her girls to high school, bought a car and a laptop.
Boosted by the success of the coffee shop, Nune opened a restaurant and employed a Russian manager to handle the business.
“The development of China has been fast during the past ten years. Changes are everywhere. Sixteen years ago, there were only one-floor brick houses, now there are tall buildings everywhere,” said Nune.
“In China, if you want to do business, if it’s legal you can do it. But in Armenia, it’s hard to open a shop. There are redundant procedures, and there are endless people who come to ask for all kinds of fees,” Nune said. “In the past, I envied my family in Armenia, now they all envy my life.”
Nune and her family live in Rongcheng City during the busy season. They return to Zhanjia village when things are quiet.
Nune’s daughters, Luchiya and Kamila, are 17 now. “I hope they can go to Beijing Film Academy, the college they want to attend. That’s my biggest wish for now,” said Nune. “Days will get better and better I believe.”