Monday, August 2, 2010

Forgive me!

oh dear, I have been a terrible blogger. I am a sad Tigger, a sorry Tigger, a I'll-never-neglect-my-blog-so-bad-again Tigger. In my defense, I have been ever so busy and important. 2 children's camps totaling more than 4 weeks in addtion to no internet in the ger, not to mention Naadam and extreme laziness. Here is my attempt to catch you up:

Camp in Bayan-Olgi: June 11-July 3
Super fun! Tons of work. 7 hours of English Teaching a day, but the kids were great. It felt kinda weird to be telling kids when to go to bed and what to do, almost like being a grown-up. I am really glad I went and really happy I got a chance to see western Mongolia without taking a 60 hour bus ride, which may have killed me. Kazakh Mongolia is a lot like the rest of Mongolia but with some differences. Mostly people speak Kazakh, but a lot of people know Mongolian, as well as Russian and/or Turkish, with a smattering of English. The food tends to have a little more spice than traditional Mongolian food. Two thumbs way up for spice!! The majority of people are also Muslim, though not as strict as I would have thought. It was really interesting being in a part of Mongolia that was really different from both my life in America, and my life I have gotten used to in Mongolia.

After camp in Bayan-Olgi I flew back to Ulaanbaatar, stopping for gas in Moron in Northern Mongolia on the way. (Me: "Where are we? This isn't UB!" Stewardess: "No, we must stop in Moron for more petrol" Me: "Well, of course we do.") In UB I was able to celebrate Independence Day in true style. No, not by blowing up aliens with Will Smith, but by eating a sub sandwich and drinking wine coolers and harassing tourists.

Camp in Ovorkhungai, near Hojirt: July 12-19
Back in Arvaikheer a few days later, it was time to prepare for our camp a couple hours away near Hojirt. We took 75 kids to camp, 35 of which had a full or partial scholarship from funds we had applied for and received. Half way to camp on of the buses broke down so all the kids got onto one bus, then off again once the driver decided the othere could be fixed, then on again when that hope was proven false. The bus would have fit 25 people comfortably. We rode with around 80.
Tunga, my counterpart, and I led HIV prevention sessions everyday at this camp, with the help of one of the older more experienced campers. These sessions were about an hour long with a game to wrap up the sessions. The weather was chilly and rainy and the kids really just wanted to relax with their friends. I only brought 2 books with me. Huge mistake. I ended re-reading the enitre HIV prevention book, and reading one of the books twice. It did not warrant a second veiwing. So I wrote a little, played yahtzee, UNO, and poker with anyone who would, sometimes alone, and annoyed teenagers and Tunga's kids. Too much free time, no computer, angsty kids coupled with pretty terrible food made this not my favorite week. However, there were some highlights. Walking a couple miles to find a wider deeper part of the stream to bathe outside, with the sun shining, the birds chirping, the flowers nodding. Red Rover, Wheelbarrel Racing, and an awesome crazy active group version of rock, paper, scissors called Princess, Monster, Man. Good times were had, but when I was told we couldn't have a session on sunday, our last day, and there was a car going back on saturday, I jumped at the chance to go back a day early. Which turned into a whole new adventure...
I ended up riding home with one of the teachers from my school that I don't know really well in a super nice SUV in a caravan of 5 vehicles. It was one of his classes 20 year reunion. I thought it was really cute that they invited two of their teachers to their reunion and they all seemed to be having a really good time. However, after our second stop to play games and drink vodka, I stopped thinking anything was cute. After it started hailing, we stopped for the 4th time during which the driver of the car I was in vomited and jumped back in the driver's seat. Needless to say, I was super happy to get back to my little ger. I went to bed with thoughts of chilling in my hammock the next day and decompressing with The Gilmore Girls and crotcheting my blanket. Ahhh, the best laid plans.

All PCVs are expected to text Naraa, our Safety and Security Officer, whenever we change locations. So when I arrived home, I texted Naraa, who is great btw, and mentioned that my ger was still pretty wet. Since I had asked her a few weeks before what I could do to stay dryer, she knew it was an ongoing problem. So in the morning, she told my regional manager Baagi, who called me, at 9 am, and said he would tell my haashaa family. As things happen slowly in Mongolia, I figured I would just wait until Monday and talk to my counterpart and firgure out how to get more plastic. I am not really sure why, but about 15 minutes later my haashaa sister came over and told me all of my things needed to be moved outside. And then the roof started to come in. I was still in my pajamas. It was back up by evening with minimal permanate psychological damage done.

UB days July 25th-Aug 2nd
I went to UB to meet with the new CYD volunteers and impart my massive amount of wisdom to them. I was great meeting them and telling them funny stories. I also had my mid service medical exam and dental check-up, whcih bith came back with a clean bill of health, minus the fact I apparently clench my teeth when I sleep which is making my gums recede. The dentist asked me if I was stressed. I replied with the fact I live in a tent. She laughed.

My next post will highlight the visit from my mother and aunts and the adventures we found. Stay tuned!
love, C


Deirdre said...

You are a great writer and a wonderful teacher and an amazing woman. I am pleased to know you. I ate the "super contact" last night. Yum. It was good, and I can see how you would like it it.

I am experiencing some interesting GI symptoms. I would use it as my weight loss plan but, how to say this in a delicate fashion, my internal turmoil has a bit of an odor. An unpleasant odor. TMI?

love, ma

kate said...

Yay! You're back! I love reading your blogs. I am preparing a box for you of yummy and useful items. Now I have the low-down of your needs. I want to thank you for being a marvelous hostess and guide with your outstanding language skills and forthright manner which is evidently the only way to get by in Mongolia! I'm so glad that we came. And now, yes, I must get Skype!
All my love,
auntie kate

Gabb said...

Tigger!!! Where are you?!