Foundation

Survival -The First Years

The hasty exodus of the Moussadaghians from their mountain homeland and their arrival to the barren plains of Anjar had created tragic cases in every family. People were homesick, hungry, cold, and demoralized. The AGBU did the utmost to ease the suffering by supplying tents. The French helped greatly by building the "French Rooms". They also established a field hospital in Deir Zanoun (3 km to the west of the village), where they assigned a doctor. The Syrian and Lebanese local officials helped greatly in many aspects.

The Antilias Holy Seat pleaded to all Armenain organizations for help. The Armenian Red Cross with AGBU built a maternity ward (Mayranots). The same stone-walled building serves nowadays as a flowering kindergarten for the Armenian "Harach" school.

One of the major problems of the Armenian refugees was food. They had no means to cultivate the land. Some mules and oxen were rented from the neighboring villages. An honourable Armenian from Iran, Haig Tutunjian, donated a tractor to the Anjarian farmers. Soon AGBU donated seeds, corn, and chickpeas in addition to 110 cows, goats, sheep , and a couple of horses.

The first crops of Anjar were barley and corn. People had to make flour out of them and bake this mixture for bread. It was a torture to chew this bread. It hardened like stone after baking. People had no choice but to chew whatever was available.

The catastrophe that the first Anjarians had to face was malaria. More than eight hundred people lost their lives to this epidemic. The priests spent whole days at the cemetery. No church bell ringing was permitted for the dead. Malaria killed hundreds and caused panic in the weak population. Something had to be done in order to overcome the epidemic by all means. All along the swamps, trenches and canals were dug. Insecticides (DDT) were used to kill flies and mosquitoes. The AGBU and the Karageozian foundation helped a lot in this battle.

A new clinic for the children was established by the Karageozian foundation. It was the right thing to do at the right time, a blessing for the newborns and their parents. Anjarians owe much to this clinic and to those who served there.

Another project of the Karageozian foundation was the summer playground. It was the right approach to keep the young in motivation and health. Antranig Kendirjian was the heart and soul of this show

In 1940, the scout movement, HMEM, was another boost. Zarmair Minassian, Tatyos Bakkalian, Antranig Kendirjian, Aram Hovsepian, and many others had their direct contribution in this essential work.

In 1943, the Anjarian Municipality started a small farm and a small shoe factory. Some people started comb making and others worked on "dazgahs" (traditional carpet weaving) .

The first years were tough but the Mousadaghians proved to be tougher.

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