Archive for June, 2011

Warming up….

Spring has arrived in my part of Mongolia and summer is right behind.  The trees have leaves popping out and alpine-type flowers are showing up here and there.

Spring flowers--look like miniature iris

Our greenhouse has a lot of little cucumber and pepper plants that are now being sold to those wanting to start a garden.  Last week as I walked over to visit a friend, I saw a lot of tree-planting going on along the main street.

Planting trees along the road

Maybe it was organized by the government—large piles of black soil had been dumped every so often along the road and groups of students were digging deep holes for the trees.  They plant them in deep saucer-like holes to retain the water I assume.  The challenge is to make sure they continue to water them—as in most landscaping, ongoing maintenance is the big problem. Note: I’m told by an American living here that the black soil is mostly clay and no benefit to the plants at all—but they still bring it in from somewhere.

Night traffic

The other night I was awakened about four in the morning by the sound of some loud motor—like a big truck going by—except it sounded like the truck was just going back and forth near our house.  I looked outside and could see over our fence some lights on what looked like a piece of heavy equipment.  It continued to go back and forth for about 20 minutes and then moved away.  Next morning when I went to work I could see that some sort of road grader had been at work.  A road that goes by our house curves at one spot and the road had become very uneven as cars rounded the curve too quickly, pushing up the sand on one side.  Now it is smooth again—but why did it have to be done at 4 a.m., though it does begin to get light at that time?  We’re approaching summer solstice of course and I can see there’s still light in the sky now even at 11 o’clock.

I keep running into old friends and meeting new people as well.  An army general came into the office last week and wants me to teach English to his daughter, as far as I can understand.  Acquaintance with the military might come in handy…

Have discovered a little shop at the zakh that sells dried beans so bought some red ones and cooked up some red beans and rice this weekend.  I think it will become one of my staple meals!

Good new and bad news

Big events usually take place in the town square right outside my building so I get first-hand exposure to what’s happening.  Last week, there was a big announcement of plans to build a new power plant in Muron that would actually bring

Celebrating announcement of a new power plant

hot water to some homes and businesses.  The downside is that I’m sure it will burn coal.  We already have a few small power plants here that burn coal—black smoke belching from tall smokestacks is not a pretty sight.  As always, these announcements are made on an outdoor stage with speeches and music and there’s a big map in the background of where it will go.

Ironically, the following day was “Clean Power Day” when they actually close a couple of the main streets to traffic encouraging people to walk.  Again a big ceremony in the square with speeches and music and everyone is encouraged to walk and exercise.  Some local groups demonstrate how to exercise.

"Clean Power" Day: a few exercises in the main square

Then this week we had Children’s Day—the day is dedicated to children (and mothers) and again the town square is the central celebration point.  Lots of  speeches and entertainment, children singing, dancing, all dressed up in their fancy clothes (mostly from China).  Peace Corps Volunteers worked with World Vision and provided “healthy snacks” (oatmeal, honey, dry milk, water cooked up and made into bars) and did animal origami with the children.

At the other end of our main street, near where I live, is the Wrestling Palace or what I call the Big Blue Basketball.  Last week there was a volleyball tournament and this coming weekend is a judo tournament (one of our local PCVs has a black belt in judo so she, yes she, is one of the judges).

Volleyball tournament: my friend is in the middle, this side, an English teacher

Mongolians do like sports and once they get some training, they are good at it–women and men.  They are all so strong, even in town they carry water, and chop firewood and get plenty of exercise.

I hope to have more to report on regarding projects I’m working on the next time I post a blog.  Things move slowly….


June 3, 2011 at 8:19 am Leave a comment

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