The community service week in Mongolia was such an experience. The first day was great we met the students which I the majority were young girls ranging from ages 14 to 18. We did some icebreakers to get to know each other and feel comfortable with each other it was fun. We settled in our rooms which weren’t bad it was definitely an experience especially the squat potties which were technically our restrooms. But almost everybody got used to them.
The food was great. Some dishes here and there weren’t the greatest for me, but for the most part, they were good. The days consisted of doing English classes, painting rooms, and playing sports with the students. We all got along very well as a group we had good chemistry. Then came the Naadam festival which is a national holiday in Mongolia. Celebrated women wore these wonderful traditional dresses and men wore traditional shirts with bottoms. There were 3 main events, archery, wrestling, and horse racing. Women can only participate in archery and horse racing and children as young as 4 years old can compete in horse racing! That was so cool to watch that kids as young as that age can ride horses. We also had one of Mongolia’s most traditional famous dishes which is Hushu, it’s like a dumpling. We then had 2 more days in the dorms until the horse trek. We said our goodbyes and exchanged our social media to keep in touch.
Horse tracking day was here! We all got our own horse. We were held by horse leaders for quite a while and then they released us it was freezing cold but my horse kept me warm. The sight of the mountains and fog was amazing! It made it seem like there was a green screen in front of us. The rain then catches us so we speeded up a bit with the horse. It was so much fun just being able to be free with the horse for quite a while. It was also very painful riding for more than 3 hours for sure. We finally get to the Blue Pearl camp and after we were all done, some of us went to explore, while others went to the Gers and slept.
The next day we were supposed to have a full day of free time at the lake but the weather really didn’t help so we had to make rearrangements we ended up renting a bus to come and pick us up but it was taking forever to get to the camp. Turned out that the battery died and wasn’t gonna get to the camp anytime soon. so our Mongolian group leaders went out to find a van available to rent there were none at the time as they were all being occupied. We came into great luck and one was found from another camp so we hopped in. The ride was so bumpy but fun. We then see a bus pass the opposite direction and it was our bus so we get off near this market and explore while the bus makes it way back. The bus is here! We get on and head out but then another problem crosses our way. There were multiple floods on the roads so going through with the bus was hard, the boys had to move rocks and the bus had to be super careful. We saw so many cars stuck in the river it was insane. After that, it was a very bumpy ride and then a smooth ride both. We arrive at another ger camp and spent the night. There we had noodles but most of us were feeling a little stomach sick as it was, so the noodles upset some of us. We woke up the next morning, ate and left for the airport back to Ulaanbaatar.
This was one of the greatest experiences ever because it really helped all of us bond.
Teaching Chingus how to play the guitar at the dorms day one at the school
Nadaam festival young girls dancing
Selfie with all the girls from the school
Our horses after the long trek
A view from Blue Pearl camp by the lake. It was a morning hike we did.