Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Site Placements! Drum roll please… (8/12/15)

Two days ago, the M26 cohort said goodbye to their host families and returned to Darkhan for the final week of training. That afternoon, after sitting through several sessions that no one remembers, we gathered in the school’s gym in front of a huge map of Mongolia that was hanging on the wall. One by one, aimag by aimag (province by province), names were called and given sites. They called it by sector: east, west, and central. So without any further ado, for the next two years, Caleb and I will be living in...

Chinggis Hot (hot means city) in the Khentii Aimag (aimag means province)

The dream that I had did not come true, but I’m not upset. This aimag (province) is in the east part of the country. It is a very historic aimag, as this is where they suspect Chinggis Khan to have been born. We don’t have the towering mountains of the west, but the Khentii (pronounced “HEN-tee”) mountain range runs through the north part of the aimag. In the south, there is steppe, and Herlen river runs through our city.

Highligted here is the Khentii Aimag.

 City is a relative term. Chinggis Hot is the aimag center of the Khentii Aimag, which means it is like the capitol of a state. This is where you can do the major shopping in your aimag and where the governor lives and where most of the stuff happens outside of farming and herding. Chinggis Hot has a population of just under 20,000 people. So it’s not a soum, but it’s not a huge aimag center either, thankfully.

Caleb and I will be living in a 2-bedroom apartment. We will have indoor plumbing with hot water and a toilet inside. This is not what I was expecting at all. I was hoping for a ger, but alas, we are back to apartment life. It will be super convenient, I’m sure, but I am a little disappointed we won’t experience ger life. I’m told that my school is just a two minute walk from the apartment. Unfortunately, Caleb and I will work at different schools. His school will be further, about 15-20 minutes to walk.

Both of us will work at a complex school. Complex schools are for grades 1-12. It looks like I will be teaching English to middle school aged students and facilitating English clubs for middle and high school aged students. I will have four Mongolian counterparts that I will work and co-teach with. I have heard that at least two of them are very excited about having a PCV and are very hardworking teachers. I will meet my counterparts when we get to site next week. Caleb will be primarily working with a social worker counterpart, who we’ve also heard great things about. Caleb will be expected to facilitate a variety of clubs and life skills classes.

Overall, this site seems like a great match for us. I am just ready to get there and start getting settled. Please feel free to google it. FYI, our site was changed to the name Chinggis in 2013. I don’t know what the name was before it was changed two years ago, but this may make it a little difficult to look up. I haven’t tried this website yet, but our paper lists as the site for the aimag. I haven’t visited because I don’t want to see any pictures of my site until after I see it first with my own eyes. J I’m excited!


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