Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thursday was an amazing day. First thing in the morning we (Rick and I) got a call that Enkhe wanted to take us to the Children's Camp...OK! Well, what a surprise. It is officially the International Children's Centre, and it is fabulous. The building on the left is the winter dormitory and it looks like a ship. The "camp" was set up in the late 70s by the Russians, and it continues to this day. Enkhe was one of the first directors and he has a clear fondness for the camp and the work it does. In the winter, Mongolian students come as classes, have their studies with their own teachers in the mornings, and then have "camp" activities - sports, academics, team building - whatever their school has requested in the afternoons. In the summer, students live in the smaller houses (below) that are in pods and built in the traditional architecture of homes around the world. The summer is international in flavor, and in fact....about 600 students, aged 6 - 18, pass through each summer. I'd love to go! In fact, there are two special events this summer and I'll be here! I plan to go.

Enkhe with a bust of the woman who really got the whole program started. Odgerel in front of a mural in one of the school rooms.

Sweden, Cuba, Vietnam and other architecture is evident in the pods.

Walking up the "hill" to the school, which is then filled with steps! We got quite a workout. The Centre is nestled in the mountains and is so beautiful - and huge!

Students in residence participating in a special program put on by WorldVision.

Meeting the Director of the Centre - she worked with Enkhe way back when! She is busy, and dedicated. Then, we were treated to lunch which was excellent.

Enkhe's memories include the planting of all the trees on the campus - including this one!

Then, we headed to the Mongolian Education Alliance for a tour of just a few of their many and important programs. The first stop was the Book Ger - one of three in the city where children who do not have access to books can come and read, take out books, listen to stories, and their parents can come and get materials on parenting. A fabulous and much needed resource. Nara's dream, she was our guide, is to open a Book Ger in the rest of the districts in UB. It would cost $7,000 a pop - well worth the price....anyone want to sponsor one?

Books galore, including home-made Big Books and very small child-made books.

An extra treat - a child read to me.

This is the librarian at the Book Ger....she is a volunteer and has a huge heart - she puts all her time, energy and some pocket change, too into this project

Then, off to School 102...we popped in on a second grade class that became convinced that Rick was Santa Claus. Next we visited a fourth grade class, and do note the school uniforms for the middle grades!

Last stop was a kindergarten in a very poor part of town. These children are two, three, four and five, and there are a lot of them! It was tea time when we were there, but some classes took time to sing to us! Cute, cute, cute....imagine working with 40 two-year-olds from 8 - 6!

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