June 6, 2008

Ride to Sukhbaatar

As we packed up our things early in the morning, we said our ‘goodbye’s not only to our trainers and the Volunteers who visited us, but also to our fellow M19 Volunteers who were leaving for other communities for the next three months. Pre-Service Training (PST) is period before a Volunteer’s two years of service dedicated to language acquisition and job training. For that reason we live with other Volunteers who are in our job field (Health, Business, Youth, or TEFL).

Our “meeker” (microbus) ride was gorgeous and we even got to stop by an Oboo (pronounced Oh-vo) which is a place of offerings to wish for safe travels. It is traditional to walk around the center of the offerings clockwise three times, given something (even a pebble) each time you circle it. Many Mongolian travels had left the same blue cloths that we were given when we arrived in Darkhan.

When we arrived in our host community we were each met by a member of our family, who then took us to our individual houses. My mom Otгoh (pronounced Ot-gon) welcomed me with candies, cookies, Sprite and milk tea when I arrived at the house and also introduced me to her sister-in-law who was visiting. For a couple of hours, until about five or six, we all talked together by using the few words I knew and flipping back and forth through our dictionaries and phrase books. Sign language was also very handy. After unpacking my things and getting my room situated, I retired pretty early. The sun goes down around 10:30 here, but I think I was sacked out sometime around 9.

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