Archive for August, 2012

Three years, three weeks, and counting

“I’ll always come back,” I told my Mongolian friends as I boarded the plane in Muron after three weeks visiting my friends this last July.  “After all, I’m half Mongolian.” Well, at least half my heart is in Mongolia.

I hadn’t planned to go back this summer.  I came home at the end of January and looked forward to a summer in Marblehead, my lovely seacoast town in New England with views of the sailboats from my back porch.

Champion Naadam wrestler

But my computer’s screensaver scrolled through photos from my three years in Mongolia—little children dressed up for Tsagaan Sar, the broad steppes and craggy mountains

Young winner of one of Naadam’s horse races

of the countryside, people singing and dancing to Mongolian music, big Mongolian wrestlers at the summer festival called Naadam, herders and their flocks of sheep, goats, yaks, cows, horses and camels moving across broad valleys, weddings and hair-cutting celebrations, and so much more.  I had to go back.  And I’m so glad I did.

One of the highlights of this trip was being able to restart the little handicraft ger where local craftspeople could bring their wares.  It was set up in an even better location this year and was staffed by two of my very favorite people.  It will be open for two months during the tourist season and has attracted many visitors each day.

It was also wonderful to re-establish connections with my many friends in Muron. I stayed with Enkhtuuvshin, her husband, and brand-new daughter.

Andrea, her husband Ted, Otgo–Enktuuvshin’s husband, Enktuuvshin, Sarangaa, and Judy

Many hands for Sarangaa’s first bath

They were married not long before I left. They generously offered a recently completed second floor of their home. The two rooms accommodated both me and my Swiss friend who had been in Muron when I was there before.

The time went fast but I was able to reconnect with so many people including Batbayr the woodcarver, Sara my former boss at Chamber of Commerce, Jagaa now at PC Mall, Bymba and Tsolmon who became our salespeople at the craft shop, Enkhee an English teacher,

Tsolmon and Jagaa with their little sons

Jagaa, Bymba, and Tsolmon, the handicraft ger shopkeepers

Me holding a gift from my shopkeepers, a felt meditation mat

Bold and Tsermaa who lived in the other half of the house where I lived for 3 years, Esse and Moogi who are my business partners and have opened a local handicraft shop at the zakh (main outdoor market), friends from World Vision including Tuul, Ganaa, and my favorite jolooch (driver) Bilgee.

Bilgee and I, a typical Mongolian couple

Bilgee letting me drive!

In addition to being able to attend Naadam, I was able to get out into the countryside for a few days at my favorite ger camp, high on a bluff above the Delgermuron river.  It’s an idyllic setting I never ever get tired of, watching the herds of animals move back and forth over the wide river valley, hiking up into the hills behind the camp, reveling in the sunsets over the mountains, even curled up reading in our ger while the rain pitter-pattered on the roof and a cozy fire burned in the little stove.

Herder bringing his flock to the river

All too soon, it was time to pack up and head for home.  During the time I was there, several projects came up that I hope to pursue here. One, of course, is to continue to try and expand my little import business of Mongolian products.  I met with the two men whose local businesses produce yak and goat cashmere knitted items.  I’m going to try and get a Pen Pal program set up for a little town way out in the countryside and help a Mongolian English teacher find some sort of teacher exchange.  My friend, Esse, is a fine guide in Mongolia, speaks English well, and hopes to establish his own tourist business this next year.  I’ll try to help in any way I can.

My business partners,Esse and Moogie, and their family

For now I’m home, happy to see my family and friends.  But a part of me will always abide in

Sunset from where I stayed in Muron

Mongolia’s land of blue sky cherishing the friendships and traditions of this remarkable land.

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August 15, 2012 at 9:51 pm Leave a comment


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