I wanted to provide a very short update with a few illustrations. I’ve started working with the Mongolian Gender and Equality Center on creating a comic about several cases for awareness materials. My guitar club has been popular and there are a few students who are developing some new hidden talents. My art club is also very entertaining and there is one student who is interested in fashion and she has got great talent and drive.
I recently met with Andrew Seiss, a young 23-year old, who is walking around the world. We happened to be in South America at the same time several years ago and by chance met the same people. He was riding his bike from his home state of Minnesota to the Tierra del Fuego and back. A great adventurer and new friend.
The vision for this Mongolia book is started to take form and hopefully these illustrations will be collected with my thoughts when I get back. In the meantime, enjoy these new additions.
We’ve been going through our Mongolian language and Community Youth Development training for two-weeks. The Mongolian language is pretty tough, but we’ve all been reassured by our 2nd and 3rd year Peace Corps mentors that we will get it eventually. Right now, it seems like there are daily ups and downs within the group, but we’ve all become pretty good friends sharing the highlights and frustrations.
The food is largely based on flour and meat. I’ve eaten noodle and mutton meat soup or pasta almost every day. There aren’t many spices are sauces that go on the foods so it can sometimes be tough to get excited about the cuisine. I was able to help out in a butchering of a sheep and it reminded me of doing the same in the Patagonia a few years with a gaucho. In Mongolia, they do this neat trick where they cut a hole below the sternum and put their hand in and cut the aorta so the blood isn’t wasted and there isn’t much of a bloody mess. I didn’t do a whole lot, but I held the legs as it passed, which was a bit surreal.
I’ve been playing a lot of basketball with my younger brother Purbaater which means “Thursday’s Hero”, but his nickname is Odus, which means “Small”. He has got a great jump shot, which is probably from his Judo training. My parents are very kind and laugh a lot. They are both involved in raising bees, which is a big occupation in my area along with growing vegetables.
This is my first post since I’ve arrived in Mongolia so I am going to try and summarize my experience for the past two weeks.
I left from Washington, D.C. at the tail end of May and landed in Ulaanbatar (UB), Mongolia after a short layover in Seoul, South Korea. I am serving with ~46 individuals and joining larger group of second and third-year Peace Corps volunteers in fields of Community and Youth Development (CYD), English Instruction, and Health. After a short orientation outside of UB we traveled north to Darkhan for a week-long, intensive orientation where we recieved basic language instruction, culture lessons, and descriptions of our assignments. Last Friday (8th of June) we split up into our respective service groups (I am a CYD volunteer) to go to our training sites.
I am in a small town or soum called Shaamer and will be here for about three-months for intensive language training and assignment training. I am living with a lovely family of four who are taking great care of me by feeding me, showing me what’s up in the community and how to get around, and are putting me up in my own ger (yurt)!