Monday, June 22, 2015

I could definitely live here. Oh wait… (6/7/15)

I DO live here. I LIVE here. I live HERE! Wow. Mongolia is a beautiful country, both the landscape and the culture. I met my host family for the first time on Friday. I love them. I belong here. From the moment they greeted me for the first time, I felt like I was a part of their family. I still am not sure what to call my host dad and mom, whether to go with the Mongolian words for father and mother, or call them by the shortened version of their names, which I confess, I still don’t have a handle on. I have THREE host sisters. Urnaa is 22 and I think has a degree in graphic design and her own photo studio in UB, which competing nationally in aerobics / gymnastics. Namuna is 21 and just graduated this spring with an accounting degree. Gangamaa is 15 and is my lifeline to communicating with everyone. She knows the most English of the family, although all the sisters know a little. Her English is very limited, but she knows enough that we can communicate important things when necessary. I also have one host brother who is 6 year old. The best way to get the pronunciation across might be Bynika, although that’s way off from being correct. There are two mountains in my community, and his name is a combination of the names of these mountains.

(My Host Family's house, The green roof building is my house.)

I and my language cluster (a group of 6 Peace Corps Trainees) are located north of Darkhan about 45 minutes. We are in the country. There is just one paved road here. Most people walk where they need to go. I have a great setup with my host family. In their hausha (spelling?), which is a piece of property surrounded by a fence, they have a house, another small building (where I live) and a few other structures for garden equipment, chickens, outhouse, etc. Pretty much all of their property is garden. They grow onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, and probably some other stuff. They also have chickens, from which I have been having eggs for breakfast every morning. Their house is made up of three spaces. The first space is kind of like a mud room. It has some gardening things, mops, brooms, and other outdoor type stuff. Then you open a door and walk up a couple steps to enter the actual house. This room is the kitchen area / bathroom sink. There is a stove in the middle of the room that is heated off of wood and dried cow dung. For those of you saying “ew,” it does NOT smell at all when it burns and is actually quite flammable and a great, free fuel source. There is a sink separated from the kitchen area to wash hands, brush teeth, etc. The “big” room is through the kitchen and is where the family sleeps. Yes, all six family members sleep in the same room. They also have a TV in this room, which turns out to be a favorite leisure activity.

There is no plumbing or water for the property. There is a water pump in the front yard from which to get water. Since we don’t have the enzymes to handle the water here, Peace Corps provided all of the trainees with a water filter, which holds probably 5 gallons of water. I have been getting my drinking water from my filter but have been brushing my teeth, bathing, etc. using the regular water.

My building is quite nice. It is a perfect space for me. I have a bed, two comfortable sitting chairs, a table with a few chairs and stools, my own wood burning stove, a TV, four drawers for my clothing, and corner with some bathroom type metal shelves that I keep all my soap, shampoo, toilet paper, etc. on. The roof and door frame are green, which is also exciting.

(My Building from the back)

My family has been so welcoming, even though I can’t understand anything they are saying to me. My soum is so beautiful. Pictures just don’t it justice. I wish each of you could see what I see from my backyard. It’s just incredible. 


1 comment:

  1. Of course your abode would be green! How cool is that?