Friday, December 18, 2015

Korean/American Culture Event

In Chinggis Town there are volunteers serving from South Korea as part of Korean Peace Corps program. We have often gotten together and had dinner with them, because it is fun to hang out with people from another country. Even though there is a language barrier their culture is closer to American culture than Mongolia. We depend heavily on several of them who speak English to translate for the rest of the group. Six of these volunteers are only serving four month terms and will be returning to Korea in January leaving behind one 2 year volunteer that started the same time we did. One of the four month volunteers works with my English counterparts at my school to help them with teaching classes and their English.

Sally, Kyra and I hosted the Koreans for a Thanksgiving dinner.
The Menu included green bean casserole, candied carrots, garlic mashed potatoes, and four homemade pizzas. 
Out of this friendship between the American PCVs and the Korean volunteers emerged a neat cultural event which occurred last Saturday. The event was mainly hosted by the Koreans who did most of the planning and funding, but they also included us in hosting some activities for the kids. It was a huge success. Children from all over town converged on my school’s gym to experience a mix of cultural activities that we foreigners had to offer.

The Koreans had stations with traditional food which as infinitely more flavor than Mongolian fair. They also had some games tables and a wall of pictures from their service in Mongolia.
Korean Volunteer leading children in a traditional Korean game

Station where kids can make traditional Korean kimbob
(Sushi roll with meat instead of fish)
Sally and I collaborated with Phoebe and Kyra, our site mates in Chinggis, to organize three activates. We had a Zumba stand where Kyra taught the Mongolians a mix of hip-hop and Bollywood dancing; a true representation of the cultural mixing pot that is America. Using a hand drawn map of America, Phoebe had the students throw a ball at the map and whichever state it landed on she would show pictures and information on her laptop. Our final station was a traditional carnival game where students would through a paper ball into cups of various scores. If they scored high enough I would give them a piece of candy. We were also joined by a PCV who lives only 30km from Chinggis named Ashley. She is on her second year in Mongolia and speaks almost fluent Mongolian, so she was very helpful with crowd management and explain activities to the children. 
Phoebe helping the kids at the map/cultural station
Ashley leading the ball and cup game

Kyra leading some of my school teachers in a Bollywood style of Zumba
Overall, the event was a lot of fun. It was very nice to collaborate with our Korean friends on a small project. We shall certainly miss the six that are leaving us in January, and will continue to foster  friendship with the one volunteer that will be left.


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