VSO Summer Conference: Island Life, Mountain Climbing and Topless Air Guitar
on Mongolian Guinness (Mongolia), 20/Jun/2009 06:42, 34 days ago
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At the beginning of the month we had VSO Mongolia’s Summer Conference. It was held at the summer camp for CYPPD (Children and Young People’s Protection and Development) – a partner organisation of VSO in Mongolia.We took the train up on the Wednesday morning– a slow, peaceful, meandering ride that gave us three hours for nattering, board games and gazing at the passing countryside.When we arrived the beauty of the place was immediately apparent as we walked from the station, crossing a wobbly bridge and following the river to the camp. The camp was perched on a hill-side, several large wooden huts and a ger. I had decided to camp and pitched my tent on a small island in the river. The first afternoon was free, so several of us walked up a mountain and enjoyed the surroundings, before returning for a dip in the river, where I sipped a cold beer as the waters ran over my shoulders. More of a holiday than a conference.The actual conference took place on the Thursday and Friday. Generally it was very well organised (I was involved in that!), and fairly constructive with action points to be taken forward after the conference.There had been a bit of pre-conference negativity by some who had forgotten we were in Mongolia and didn’t like the idea of using a drop-pit toilet! I think most of the negativity was eroded by the stunning beauty of the place, and the positive attitude of other volunteers.There was time in the afternoons for more mountain climbing and relaxing in the river. On the Thursday and Friday night, I may have had a little too much to drink (maybe!!) which resulted dancing on the tables, and some really bad air-guitar– topless! The trip back to my tent involved walking down the hill and wading across the river. Miraculously, I did not fall in!Alas, Saturday afternoon eventually arrived and three days of island life, mountain climbing, drinking (and a conference somewhere in between) came to an end. It was time to pack up the tent and head back on the train to UB. Hopefully, next year's conference will be held here.