Doodler Update

Here are a few illustrations from the past weeks! I’ve been able to speed up a bit because new Moleskin drawing books arrived two weeks ago. Thanks Grandma and Grandpa!

A local chef chopping up a veggie.

A local chef chopping up a veggie.

There is a jazz bar in UB and a few of us were able to catch a live show. I did a doodle and talked with the composer.

There is a jazz bar in UB and a few of us were able to catch a live show. I did a doodle and talked with the composer.

Inspiration from a book about Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights activists.

Inspiration from a book about Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights activists.

The Choir train station is decorated with tinsel and a tree for Christmas.

The Choir train station is decorated with tinsel and a tree for Christmas.

Someone curled up under a rose red jacket on the top bunk.

Someone curled up under a rose red jacket on the top bunk.

The inside of a train car on my way up to UB.

The inside of a train car on my way up to UB.

Heidi Mayer presenting her group ideas during a TEFL session.

Heidi Mayer presenting her group ideas during a TEFL session.

The volunteers listening to a lecture at the TEFL IST training in UB.

The volunteers listening to a lecture at the TEFL IST training in UB.

This was an interesting experience. While I was in UB I hung out with my buddy Tucker and we found a shaaman ceremony to go to. It was in a huge ger near the downtown and there were about 7 shaamans and shaaman trainees who danced, sang, drummed, and spoke during the ceremony and about 15 guests including Tucker and I. We watched, drew, and wrote during the ceremony and then 15 minutes into the drumming and singing section we were given milk in small cups and drank those then received a tiny bill of money and candy and then we were encouraged to close our eyes and meditate for a bit. Then, after the rituals, we were able to stand and talk with the head shaaman. Usually he would offer a bit of advice, but because our Mongolian wasn’t good enough for that we just talked about where we were from and he thanked us for participating.

The head shaaman while he is giving his opening speech. It was something about mothers and fathers, money, modern day machines like cars, and other things I couldn't catch.

The head shaaman while he is giving his opening speech. It was something about mothers and fathers, money, modern day machines like cars, and other things I couldn’t catch.

The head shaaman singing while beating a drum. The inside of the ger was filled with hides, vegetables and fruit, candles, pictures, and other items to create the spiritual space.

The head shaaman singing while beating a drum. The inside of the ger was filled with hides, vegetables and fruit, candles, pictures, and other items to create the spiritual space.

Inter-Service Training

I’ve spent the last month working the capital of UB on our IST trainings for the new class of Health, Community and Youth Development (CYD), and TEFL (Teachers of English as a Foreign Language) volunteers. I was eager to promote several projects to 12 CYD volunteers and their Mongolian counterparts and throughout the weeklong training we talked about “Eco-Schools” to raise environmental awareness with students, the Agaa Egee mentoring program I am developing, the Happy Center which is done by Eva out west and raises awareness for peoples and children with disabilities, Camp GLOW which is a gender empowerment focused summer camp that we are going to adapt to Mongolia this upcoming summer, and Grassroots Comics.

It was a great experience for me to be a facilitator for these discussions and try to share my stories from my experiences. It was also reassuring that I lead a conversation with a room of intelligent, creative, and motivated individuals and not be delivering fluff the entire time that puts people asleep, but inspires a few in the room to take ideas with them to their sites.

After the sessions we’ve gone from Agaa Egee being developed by me at my site to the mentoring program being developed for starting at 9 other schools throughout Mongolia. Also, Grassroots Comics will be done at more schools and the Happy Center and the Good Father’s Project have more team members to share the development load and will start in new communities!

Also, the hotel we trained at was near an ice rink and on my second visit for the TEFL training I brought my ice skates and took some strides between my sessions :)

Heath is a great guy and working on a project to encourage fathers to be good role models and teachers to their children. It is called, "The Good Father Project."

Heath is a great guy and working on a project to encourage fathers to be good role models and teachers to their children. It is called, “The Good Father Project.”

Hannah, Muugi, and I were the CYD training team with support from Myaanga.

Hannah, Muugi, and I were the CYD training team with support from Myaanga.

Myaanga and I presenting on Student Friendly Schools

Myaanga and I presenting on Student Friendly Schools

Muugi and I showing off our Eco-Schools ideas with Didi the eco-falcon!

Muugi and I showing off our Eco-Schools ideas with Didi the eco-falcon!

The new CYD volunteers!

The new CYD volunteers!

Grassroots Comics

14.12.21 GRComics17

I picked up on the work of Leif Packalen and grassroots comics from Finland, http://www.worldcomics.fi/, and started introducing these great ideas into my school and community. I worked alongside another Peace Corps Volunteer at my site to create anti-smoking/ anti-tobacco posters for the local Health Department and my school. Later, we held two workshops for my students and they were able to draw out their ideas about drinking and smoking in the Mongolian context.

Here are a few that Jessica and I put together ** click on the link!:

14.12.21GRComicsPosters2

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Here are two from the students, **click on the link!:

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I also pitched and helped the teachers create a shadow play dramatizing the negative consequences of drinking and smoking.

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I’m in UB for the next two weeks helping to train and share ideas with the new class of Community and Youth Development Volunteers!

Halloween and other fun

 

 

 

 

 

The past few weeks have been entertaining and busy. My counterpart and I have been busy working on implementing our mentoring program, an eco-awareness program utilizing a hawk mascot that we crafted, and are now in the midst of an alcohol and tobacco awareness campaign. We’ve also been working on smaller events like a chalk-art activity, teaching students how to create comics to talk about social issues, and I’ve been working on a trafficking in persons comic to build awareness in schools.

On the 31st of October we celebrated Halloween with thrilling activities like Witch Limbo, Mummy Races, and Ghost Busters.

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A little boy is going under the limbo line and about to win the whole competition and was carried around on the shoulders of other students. No joke.

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This was the game we called “Ghost Busters.” Those are panty hose on his head with potatoes in the legs and he is trying to knock over the ghost bottles.

14.10.27 CamelArt5

Here, I am painting the portrait of a local Bactrian Camel.

14.11.3 GraceSalon

Waiting to get my haircut at the Grace Salon.

14.11.3 ChoirTower

The local water tower.

14.10.23 BirdCostume4

This is our environmental mascot that my counterpart and I made. We used styrofoam and foam padding to create the head and then we paid a local seamstress to sew a cloth “mask” onto the form. My counterpart will wear this to primary grade classrooms and speak about environmental issues of Mongolia and around the world.



This is an art carpet project that my students did along with other participating schools in the States and Mongolia.

This is an art carpet project that my students did along with other participating schools in the States and Mongolia.

Art at the Cowboy Poetry Gathering!

 

I received some incredible photos from my art show, which celebrates the cowboy poet and hero Georgie Sicking. Thanks to all of you who made this possible, from the custom frame builder to the all the folks in Elko who celebrate Western heritage including cowboy poetry. Of course, I give my utmost respect and thanks to Georgie who lives life her way and the rest of the cowboy poets and their families who stand behind the life and art of cowboy poetry!
14.10.8 Georgie Sicking 614.10.8 Georgie Sicking 3 14.10.8 Georgie Sicking 214.10.8 Georgie Sicking 514.10.8 Georgie Sicking 414.10.8 Georgie Sicking 1

Thailand & the new school year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The school year in Mongolia recently started and I am busy back at work. Since the start of September I’ve been creating some propaganda materials such as one expressing what Volunteers should be wearing in Mongolia. What people dress is extremely important and dressing below professional standards can take chips off a person’s credibility. I’ve also been creating another short comic about my experience with the theme, “It’s not how many breaths you take…”

Another great opportunity fell into my lap and I was sent to Bangkok, Thailand to participate in a workshop to address School Related Gender Based Violence. The workshop was informative, valuable, and inspiring. There are many things that we, as educators and social workers, can strive for in schools and ensuring gender equality is one of them. When students are mistreated and suffer the psychological, physical, and sexual harms of gender based violence they may not meet their immense potential. I met many extraordinary PC Volunteers and their counterparts from several countries including Albania, Azerbaijan, Kyrgz Republic, Thailand, Armenia, and Indonesia. It was wonderful to participate with other game changers who wanted to work to create environments where children thrive.

During my down time I was able to go out and explore Bangkok. Things I won’t forget about Bangkok: the food, a bike tour, China Town, the temples, a boat trip with dancing, the amazing art (Museum Of Contemporary Art was out of this world!), and all the smiling Thai people.

14.9.24 BangkokChinatown

 

China Town
14.9.24 BangkokSubway

On the Subway
14.9.24 BangkokRiverBoatOur River Cruise with Dancing and Dinner

Sam’s Trip & Adventure in Arkhangai

14.8.24 WaitingforSam

Sam flew to Mongolia where I was anxiously waiting and doodling to keep from pacing.

We spent a week at my site in Choir so she could see how I am living and ease into preparing for our 90 mile trek and horseback riding experience in the Arkhangai province.

 

SaminMongolia65It was great to be with Samantha in the outdoors and for the both of us one of the longest treks we’ve ever done. Where we were hiking was in a long, flat valley split by weaving river and crowded by mountains on both sides.

 

SaminMongolia44We felt very small in an place that is so vast.

 

14.8.17- SaminMongolia17The river meandered through a beautiful valley that was teeming with many different species of birds such as vultures, hawks, cranes, and swans who flew above the wandering herds of yaks, sheep, goats, and horses.

 

 

14.8.17- SaminMongolia19We were fortunate to meet a wonderful German couple, Nino and Louise, to do the trek with us. They were great travel partners and friends. Throughout our hike we met Mongolian herder families. Some were as enthusiastic about fishing as I was (but not as much as the fly-fisherman Nino) and would join us at the riversides.

 

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This was my first fish of the trip! A little Greyling.

 

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This was my trophy Lenok Trout.

 

SaminMongolia38It was so much fun learning how to do a fishing trek with Sam. We were rookies at the beginning, but we got the hang of tying our lures, catching fish, cleaning them on the riverbank, and frying ‘em up for dinner.

It was sad to watch Sam go and end our trip, but there are more good things coming! She is a beautiful woman and we share a remarkable relationship that makes me full of love and appreciation every moment!

 

14.8.24 On the Train

After she left I took the train back to Choir sans mustache.

 

14.8.24 TrainOfficerThis man waved my train off with stoic salutation.

 

14.8.24 BarbershopTo get fully cleaned up I went to Grace’s Salon in Choir for a high and tight.

Last night, I woke up at three a.m. and couldn’t go back to bed. I’ve been reading and admiring Shel Silverstein’s work and doodled up my own whimsical ideas in his style based on the first rough lines of poems that bubbled up in my mind.

14.8.25 PoDraw- Itch on My Back

There’s an itch on my back that I can’t quite catch.

14.8.25 PoDraw- Fight with my bed

I had a fight with my bed last night ’cause it woke me up at three.