Monday, June 4, 2012

I'm back in the USA.  I returned home late at night on June 2, after a very uneventful flight.  As I adjust to EDT, driving and thunderstorms, I await the arrival of four Mongolia colleagues - my friends Odgerel, Amaraa and Enkhtsetseg, and a teacher from Arhangai, Ganbold.  They will be visiting Columbia and Columbia College from June 20 - July 5.  I look forward to showing them the same hospitality and care (and new experiences) that they have shown me.  I will continue the blog with their visit.  I hope that many of you will be able to meet them - let me know if you have an interest in joining us at some point during those two weeks.

After that - who knows? 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Friday, June 1 is Children's Day.  What better way to celebrate than to spend some time with the children in the Lynne & Friends Book Ger!  They were having program complete with singing, reciting, awards for dance, drawing and reading, and the chance to meet with authors of children's books. 
This Book Ger is very special to the neighborhood.  They are proud that their Book Ger was made possible by a community of people and not an agency / foundation.  They feel very connected to their wonderful benefactors - many of you!  I wish you could experience the joy of these children and their family members.  The "staff" are busy scheduling summer activities - including a volunteer to come and teach the children chess.
Singing and reciting for me!
A beginning throat singer....
Sitting with my kids
Prizes were awarded for dancing workshops, drawings, number of books read, and hard work during a kids clean up the neighborhood day....

"How do you do?"  "I can't wait until I'm big enough to come to the Book Ger."
Children looking in from the outside.  The Book Ger was planned for about 20 children, usually has at least 30, and has seen 40+ on occasions!  Others just watch from outside.
What a treat - I gave 47 books to the Book Ger for the library.
Two children's authors.  They brought books and signed them for the children.  They are also donating books to the program.
The "director" - her real job is in the district office, but she puts in many hours coordinating the activities of the Book Ger.
There is a waiting list of communities who have asked to have a Book Ger in their neighborhoods.  The need is great.  Rick and I are still committed to providing at least one more - if you'd like to help us out, email me at and put Book Ger in the subject line.  Many thanks.

Monday, May 28, 2012

A day in Darkhan, the 2nd largest city in Mongolia.  Amaraa, Bayaraa and I took the bus to Darkhan Monday morning.  When we arrived, we found a restaurant for lunch....see if you can tell what restaurant they chose!
Then we set out on a walking tour.  This apartment building is famous as once the tallest apartment building in Mongolia - 16 stories, elevator!
Darkhan is famous for its fur factory.  These coats, vests, boots, etc. are made with the leather on the outside and the fur on the inside.  They are gorgeous.  But, as there would not be a single day in SC when I could wear such a coat......(not to mention the price)......I passed!
We found a small museum that housed some interesting items, including, below, a tanka (silk applique/embroidery) of an historic meeting between Lenin and Sukhbaatar. 
Another attraction in Darkhan is this absolutely huge amusement park / playground.  The pathway from one end to the other is at least 3 miles.  Part of the park is playground, part is amusement and part is this pathway, areas off which are arranged by the signs of the zodiac - thus....Aries.
All along the path are these little ceramic animals (note the belly) who play music.
All children, big and little, enjoy the many climbing, sliding, swinging opportunities.
At the end of the pathway is a Buddha on one hill, and a monument on another hill, joined by a bridge.
View of the monument from the Buddha
Crossing the brideg
The monument is a tribute to Morin Khuur, the traditional horsehead fiddle.  This rider is playing a Morin Khuur as he rides
View down the monument steps
View of the city.  After we walked and climbed we went in search of a cup of tea.  We were waiting for darkness, when the city, especially the monument is lit up.  This is the bridge.  When it gets a bit warmer, the fountains will also be turned on after dark. 
Instead of staying over and taking the bus back, we decided to take the overnight train.  Good night!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

This past Saturday and Sunday, I had the opportunity to design and deliver a workshops for teacher trainers through the Mongolian Education Alliance.  There were 30 participants and I kept them active throughout the training.  We focused on reading, writing, thinking and how they work together.  These are very dedicated, energetic and creative teacher trainers!  Above, I'm with my translator for the event, Sarantsetseg.