14 Oct Mongolia Group Helps Nomads Move in Remote Mongolia . . .
Paige ’15, Mongolia, 4/26/2015
Today we had a lovely adventure in the great outskirts of Mongolia. After waking up to a marvelous breakfast of eggs, sausage, and toast with Russian milk (condensed milk) we got ready for a long day of ger moving. Alex, Wu, and I hopped into the van and picked up Noah, Andrew, and Tim so we could meet up with others to take down their ger. When we arrived, Gina, Maddie, and Perri were busy collecting their home stay family’s goats and putting them into a pen. Then after all the goats were moved we started taking down the ger. Layer after layer of sheep skin and wool were taken off until we made it to the center of wooden poles and fencing. After the outer complex was removed, we separated out his family’s various belongings until it all fit into the back of a truck. We all marveled at how all of their belongings, including the house itself, could fit into the back of a truck that was just a bit larger than a normal truck bed. It was a very humbling experience considering I probably couldn’t even fit my shoe collection into the back of a truck that size. After a much needed snack and tea break we set back to work setting up the ger in a new location overlooking the various plains and mountains of Mongolia. After several hours of layering back on the out shells of the ger, we were finished. The ger had been successfully taken down and put back together all before we had even had lunch.
After a box lunch of rice and lamb and snacking on sushi containing hotdogs and pickles, we hit the road again. This time we were on our way to feed the wild sheep herds a type of salt that they need in their diet. A few days before, we had collected the salt and clay from a mineral field close to our home stay. After an hour long car ride, we spotted the elusive creatures and dumped our bags full of clay onto the ground beneath them and then looked at them through binoculars. Our guide Badnaa told us the mineral was candy to the sheep, so we left feeling satisfied that we helped the herds. On the car ride to the gers, Tim became infatuated with the novel The Last Song by the renowned romantic novelist, Nicholas Sparks (Perri’s favorite book might I add). After mocking Perri incessantly, he had to devour his words with same ferocity since he was now devouring the tragic love story of Ronnie and Will. There is currently a pool on whether or not Tim will cry in the end. So far all bets are that he will, indeed, weep like a baby much like Perri did in the house of the Tuva, making us thoroughly uncomfortable.
After finally making it back to our gers, we played cards for hours while ingesting many slices of bread with butter and jam. Our days work was finished and we completed it by relaxing with various books and music devices. Overall the day was filled with many challenges and obstacles that we overcame together. Dinner was a satisfying bowl of soup with bow tie pasta and plums for dessert. Everyone returned to their various home stays exhausted. I helped my home stay mother feed her baby and then promptly went to bed thinking on all the good things we had done and all of the laughs that we had. I am sad thinking that our trip is coming to an end, but it is days like today that I will look back on when thinking about our group and the many amazing adventures we have had together and all of the memories I will cherish from this once in a lifetime experience.
Andrew ’16, Mongolia, 4/25/2015
Today my grrrrrrrrrrrr folk (Noah and Tim) woke up on the floor where only the night before a goat had been butchered. We had another lazy start to the day that we spent watching the local life pass and absorbing the culture of the nomads. For lunch the whole group got together and ate a massive lunch, family-style. Nobody had much of an appetite because the people we are staying with are among the most hospitable I have ever met and they plied us with food whenever possible. After letting our meals digest a bit, we drove to a small salt flat that was not very far. We shoveled pounds and pounds of salty soil into bags to feed to endangered goats the next day. After driving back to the central grrrrrrrrrrrrr that had become our base of operations, we set of on a small hike up one of the surrounding hills for a better view of our surroundings. When we got back, we ate another massive dinner and everyone dispersed to their respective grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrs. In true nomadic style our host family stayed up until just after midnight feeding the dirty and tired Americans.