Category Archives: IWAM

Mongolian Retirement Home

Yesterday I  took a trip to Mongolia’s only government run nursing home with the IWAM group. It is a State Home for the Elderly about 80 grueling kms from UB. The facility holds about 110 residents with no family and nowhere to go yet are seemingly happy and interactive. We enjoyed touring the facility and making some new pillows for the residents.

The drive took around 3 hours as no marked roads so lots of bumps but beautiful.

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The trees were beautiful.

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They grow potatoes to earn money, so we took a walk to see.

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Lots of potatoes.

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The residents were so happy to see us.

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We were entertained by the residents singing Mongolian songs to us.

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We helped stuff pillows for the residents to use.

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We stuffed them with scraps of materials, and were able to put 50 together.

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The rooms were all very nice with a huge dining room.

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It was a wonderful day, but tired with spending 6 hours driving back and forth.

 

Day 3 a visit to Darkhan

We were up before 5am. to catch the train to go to Darkhan which is the second biggest city in Mongolia. We were on the train for 2.5 hours going south.
This is where most of the wheat is grown in the country.

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We visited this beautiful park.

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Lots of birds at the Lama Temple.

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Our last stop was at a school to distribute 40 school back packs filled with supplies for some very happy children.

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A wonderful rewarding experience for us all.

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Tomorrow we will visit 3 different schools to distribute over 200 backpacks.

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A train ride to the Russian border

Last Tuesday a group of 8 of us boarded the train in Ulaanbaatar to check out the Russian border.

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Four of the women were from Australia, 1 from Sweden, 1 from Mongolia to translate, and a new friend for me from Quebec Canada. We started out with a toast of Champagne and orange juice.

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We got on the train at 10:30 am. and got off at 8:00 pm. in Suhkbataar which is the northern most city closest to the Russian border. Beautiful scenery on the way.

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The next morning we hired a van and a driver to show us around. This rock shows the spot where Ghinggis Kahn fought a war to get his fourth wife.

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We then toured a museum to learn about Mongolian history.

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Beautiful stone mosaic inside where we were allowed to take pics.

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The border is out in the countryside so not very busy. We did not get a visa to enter Russia as it would have been $200, and just not much to see.

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Here I am with 2 feet in Russia.

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This church is on the Russian side, and can be seen for miles.

Now I can say I have been in Russia.

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After lunch we took a drive to the countryside for a good view. It is close to a military base so we had to pay $3.00 and show our alien card for Mongolia to be able to climb the hill.
Here you can see the guard in his lookout spot.

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We climbed these steps

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The view was fantastic.

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MIM Made in Mongolia, Felt

Today we toured a small felt making factory called MIM which stands for Made in Mongolia. The goal is to help the Mongolian people learn a trade and help them finacially

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The wool is washed first and then turned and pulled threw the wheel.

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The wool is then dyed to various colors.

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Very long and tedious work.

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For Christmas I had purchased a a felt tree, so now I have a Santa to go along with it.

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Children’s Creative Center

Today I went with a group of IWAM ladies to tour the Children’s Creative Center. It is a state run organization that teaches the underprivileged children various crafts for a year free of charge.
This is a replica of the building made from straw

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They actually iron the straw

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Various pictures are then made from the straw.

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Some learn drawing

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Some paper cutting

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I like this picture

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Some learn how to make dolls and puppets

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It was all very fascinating. This little boy was learning how to carve.

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My quilting group

Yesterday I had seven ladies come over to do some quilting, eating, visiting, and sharing knowledge.

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Some of these gals are really talented.

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A couple from the US, Canada, Australia, and one from New Zealand.

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Eagle Festival in UB Mongolia

Tuesday I went on a bus with the  IWAM ladies group for a 40 minute ride west of UB to attend the Eagle Festival.

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The horse riders and eagles came from Kazakhstan to show off their skills. I learned that many of the eagles are taken from their nests when they are a year old to be trained.

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They are trained and live with their owners for 8 years and are then allowed to fly free for the next 10 to 14 years.

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They all lined up for the opening parade.

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They followed the guard.

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We then climbed the mountain to mingle with the eagles.

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It was so cool to get that close to the eagles.

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The eagles waited up at the top of the mountain and then flew down to find their owner.

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Amongst the crowd was this man selling a fox skin.

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It was exciting to see the eagle find his owner.

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The best part was watching the horse riders wrestle with each other. They tried to pull each other off their horse.

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P1050162It was so fascinating as we were able to get so close to the horses. In the following photo they were coming directly my way, so I had to move away quickly.P1050163

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The riders than had to swing down and pick an item off the ground, while still riding very quickly.

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Whoops!!!

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I love this guys coat.

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I like this pic of the eagle.

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I had an absolutely wonderful day, and only showed a few of my pics.

Tsagaan Sar food

Our IWAM meeting this week was all about the upcoming holiday Tsaagan Sar.
We were entertained by a young man playing the traditional Mongolian instrument.

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We learned about the traditional deel worn on the holiday. Usually worn with very long sleeves so gloves do not have to be worn.

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Buuz, a meat (usually minced mutton, or beef) dumpling that is steamed. Most families make around a thousand to eat.

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Boov, a traditional bread biscuit, always in odd numbers, so happiness can always be in the middle. Usually topped with cheese curds, and candy.

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The celebration will last 3 days so families can visit with all their relatives.

Tsagaan Sar Mongolian New Year

Today at my Mongolian language class we learned about the upcoming Mongolian New Year holiday which is called Tsagaan Sar, which means “White Moon holiday”. It follows the lunar calendar, so this year it is February 10,11,12.
People greet each other by saying “Amar bain uu? They hold out their arms and grasp the others elbows for support. During the greeting ceremony family members hold long pieces of colored cloth called “khadag”. Typically it is blue to represent the beautiful blue sky.
After they enjoy a huge feast which lasts for days.
This is my sweet Mongolian teacher Tserenchimeg Tseren holding her khadag.

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Helping out!

Yesterday I was able to do a couple hours of volunteer work at the local Police detention center.
Children are able to stay at this facility for up to 3 months when they run away from home, or are picked up off the street. There were 7 children there, but have heard at times there were 30 children at the facility.

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Amazing how you can get along with just pointing and shaking your head yes or no.