Oh what country air does to us folk

So KK as usual puts me to shame with her blogging and has made me sit up in my bed on this lazy Sunday and write my next blog entry without a month or even 2 month break between posts.

This week was short yet long, on Monday morning all 27 of us volunteers and staff headed out on a bus to the countryside. The first thing i noticed was that we left an hour late due to the bus not arrving and i dont believe anyone said a thing, its just a  given that we will be late and the bus does eventually turn up and we do get to our destination, time is just irrelevent i think. So we arrived a few hours later at the camp after crossing dust heaps and holes and that was in the city. We went straight in for lunch and then settled in our wooden gers, luxurious to say the least, they had real mattresses, a fridge, sink, telephone and in the main building a sauna, showers and sit-down toilets, did u hear me correctly, sit-down toilets with flush in the countryside, my packets of wet wipes were never opened how glorious.

So i wont bore you with the conference details, it wouldnt be interested unless you are part of the 27 but we had a good time, we discussed all that needed to be discussed and good conversations were had by all. It was definetely bonding for us all, it reminded me of our original VSO training back in Birmingham however with its Mongolian quirks.

Our Camp

Our Camp

Quirk number one, although we were in a Ger camp you still encounter neighbours to the camp, around 11pm when you are sitting on a bench in a sleeping bag drinking and looking at the stars and 2 young boys ride up in the dark, bare-backed on horses and it was really dark and they were really young, now 10months ago this would have been a shock and bizarre but it was just what it was, we didnt even blink an eye however quirk number 2 was weird, one of the camp staff cutting the grass/weeds growing between the paving terrace stones with a pair of scissors, yep that did catch my eye, i thought there must be a better way, like grabbing it with your fingers and yanking it out by the roots, but that is the way it is done so c-est la vie!!

Guitar at Dusk

Jamming in the grass

Evening come together

Now i havent been in the countryside properly since the winter and now we are in June and summer is here with its dust storms and rain storms n all and living in the city you dont notice as much but the countryside has really come alive, i feel we ourselves have copied nature, we realise that there are only a few months of summer before winter appears again so we must make the most of it, come alive, grow and dance in the wind, we saw herbs growing naturally, an array or wild flowers, long grass, caterpillars, butterflys and a constant cuckooing cuckoo, everything that wants to make the most of our short summer months. However there was still snow, hiding in the woods by a stream like a monster reminding us that winter dominates all.


Snow in June


And of course the countryside would not be the same without the immense starry sky that again takes your breath away. As usual thank you to the Mongolian countryside for putting everything in perspective.

VSO Mongolia


The real VSO Mongolia

Thanks to AS for group photos.


About rdamm

I am about to embark upon a V.S.O. placement for one year in UB, Mongolia. I shall be working as a textile designer at Mongol Nekhmel, a textile company that produces cashmere, yak and camel hair clothing and homeware. I shall be sharing the skills i have gained in the last 10 years as a designer, creating connections and helping to open-up the products to the European and Japanese markets, therefore hopefully assisting to bring herding communities out of poverty. The views expressed in this blog are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of V.S.O. www.vso.org.uk www.vsointernational.org
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