Posted by: soupysays | November 21, 2007

Are you wintering well?

I am utterly amazed at the fact that it is Thanksgiving 2007. I’m not sure what happened to fall. I do remember buying kilos of tomatoes for 300 turgruk. (Now, they are 2,000 turgruk a kilo). The months didn’t disappear. I lived them, but some days it doesn’t feel like it.

I’ve been fairly busy.

On the health side of things, several other volunteers and myself have started working with the Parents of Disabled Children Association that is run out of the hospital. The Mongolians that run it are a dedicated group of people that do physical thearpy for the children (with amazing equipment donated by the British Embassy) and help parents. We are trying to assist the organization with some adocvacy work, trainings, data collecting and whatever else gets thrown our way. 

In November, some PC volunteers in another part of the country organized a Mongolia National Fitness Day. With the local Red Cross and the exercise methodolgist at my work, I organized a hike in honor of the day. However, I woke up with a fever that morning and couldn’t make it. To top it off, the power was out, and my cell phone battery died; I had no way of letting people know I couldn’t come. Even in my absence, about 30 people showed up, and they went on anyway.

Currently, I am getting ready for World AIDS Day on Dec. 1st. Hopefully, a radio PSA contest, AIDS ribbons and information boards all come together.

I’ve been doing some side projects as well.

Another volunteer and I are finishing up a 6 week English computer course.  We are teaching at the library. We are teaching secondary students, college students and 1 university teacher. The course is a survey of all things computers – basic hardware, Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Internet. Each class also has a typing section. We have been developing the material ourselves which takes a lot of time. We will run the course again after the new year. We are also hoping that our students will help us translate the book into Mongolian.

I’ve been getting materials together to teach Internet classes at my work. However, that is something that will have to put off until the new year because I have to find a volunteer translator to help me teach. 

I have also started the very beginnings of a media development project for the local TV, newspaper and radio station. However, it has gotten stuck at the needs assesment phase due to my Mongolian partner being incredibly busy.

What has been really helpful in getting work done this year is my Mongolian language. My langauge skills are far from amazing, but I can, for example, go to a doctor and ask, “What are you doing for Worlds AIDS Day?”; get the gist of what he says, and then tell him how I want to contribute. The conversation is pretty rough, but it can happen. I’ve made a couple of those cold calls recently. It feels pretty good to be able to pull them off. It’s also nice to have those interactions with people that met me shortly after coming to Khovd. After the World AIDS Day conversation, the doctor shook my hand and said, “Congratulations. You’ve learned Mongolian.”

Not quite. But I’m getting there.

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