Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Approaching Cold...

Hello friends!

Things are getting cold here in Bayankhongor. Definetly below freezing at night: fun to see one's breath in the outhouse in the morning: a great substitute for coffee.

This morning I successfully purchased water! It works like this: A horse drags around a huge barrel of water that has a hose attached to it. Someone (usually a very young lad or a very old man) ride this contraption around yelling "Please buy water, Please buy water." When you hear the call, you throw on your flip flops, grab your giant metal water container and sprint to the hashaa gate as fast as you can, praying to God that they are still out there when you finally manage to get the gate open. There is an added complication for special people like me... It just so happens that an old lady sells milk every morning using a similar method as the water folks. Only instead of riding a horse she just walks around yelling "Please buy milk, please buy milk" which, to a non-native speaker of Mongolian sounds remarkably similar to "Please buy water, please buy water!"... I believe that this milk woman thinks I am crazy because she has seen me racing to the gate with my huge container. She was excited to sell of her milk to one person but confused when I took a non-chalant turn for the outhouse after realizing that she was not the water people... She circled around a few times as I hid in the outhouse. Dogoo (my hashaa mom) asked me if my stomach was ok that night... "Yes, Dogoo, I am well, how is your stomach?"...

In other news, my friends with the internet (and thus, skype) are potentially moving soon! Some issues with locks. As a result I may not be able to skype for a few weeks... I will try to keep you posted.

Teaching is going well. I am quickly learning how to lesson plan better and how to run actual classes. Homework is still only done 50% of the time and about 40% of the daily quizzes result in a 0, but, who doesn't need a challenge every once in a while?

I am officially the recipient of the most packages here in Bayankhongor (thanks friends!) and I have a great stock of dried fruit for the winter (yahoo!). Good fruit is just about gone already: moldy peaches available once in a while... Sad.

In cooking news I managed to melt the bottom out of my wok in an attempt to make bread. I was listening to music and reading after successfully creating dough and starting the baking when I saw more smoke than usual in my ger and smelled a worse smell than I am used to... Oops. I am known among my volunteer friends as the worst cook in Bayankhongor but the most persistant. My goal is to have at least one culinary success before I leave this country. I may be signing on for a third year.

Tomorrow at my meeting with my director I am going to ask about burning dung instead of coal this winter. Burning coal not only leaves its mark on the enviro, you can feel it in the throat after a few days: coughing and all that. No good. We'll see what she thinks... Lots of the gers out here use solar power. I need to do a little research and see if that could save some money over two years, perhaps I will propose this little addition as well...

A people report!
I live in Bayankhongor with four other volunteers: Leslie and Nathan, Fahd, and Peder. You may remember Peder from Javland this summer! Leslie is a music therapist working at the children's center and the theater here. A great vocalist (and guitarist, can you say, free lessons?) and pleasant extrovert, she is married to Nathan, a German-speaking International Studies major. He also happens to sing, often with his wife while he is cooking (very well I might add). Hanging out at their apartment is a predictably wonderful experience. Then there is Fahd, a New Yorker who has been in BK (Bayankhongor) for a year already. A successful volunteer, he speaks pretty good Mongolian and is always willing to show you where to get things that a Westerner needs here in Mongolia: like good tofu...

I need to get back to work... Helping students write letters to some Americans!
More news soon (everything is relative friends)...

A Mongolian hug to each of you!
Tysen

5 comments:

christinetastic said...

A Wisconsin hug back to you!!! Its good to hear that you are enjoying the day to day adventures of Mongolia. I really enjoyed the water/milk story :)

Maria said...

...Typical Tysen. It's really sad to say that I am known among my friends here as being a great cook (snigger snigger) and that I got into a graduate program without knowing it. Seriously. Not having heard from St John's about my status, I emailed them to ask when I'd receive adecision and they said that I should have gotten a letter in June...

I will try calling you sometime.

Matthew Ude said...

Don't feel too bad about the Wok, i have managed to melt four "coffee pots" since I have been here.

I finally found one that is pretty much indestructible although even with that I have had a few close calls.

Fahd said...

Hi Tysen, my name is Fahd. I speak Mongolian well. How is the coke?

Kim said...

Tysen, ya know Tom D from Nicollet, Helyna is going to get me a newspaper article to send to you that was written about him with his peace corps adventures in africa! Also wanted you to be aware that I ran over a skunk today and my whole car stinks like I don't even wanna drive it it smells so bad...I do not think that air freshener will work, I need like maximum strength something....maybe a whole open jar of coffee! good to see you are well taken care of by a child you can chop wood better than you can!