A quiet few weeks..........
on Sarah in Mongolia (Mongolia), 18/Mar/2010 13:24, 34 days ago
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Well I have been back from Khuvsgul for 3 weeks now and I am only just getting over the post holiday blues!! So whats been going on in Mongolia over the last 3 weeks?Well most importantly the weather is warming up! This has created even more chaos than the cold. Ulaanbaatar has a population of 1.5 million, is one of the driest cities in the world, but right now there is loads of ice and snow on the streets, but there is no drainage! So as you can imagine when it starts to warm up everything melts but cannot go anywhere as there is no drainage and ridiculously little green space, so it all just lies on the road. At the minute the temperature is fluctuating between low negative temperatures and very cold temperatures - this means the ice melts, it then creates puddles and then re freezes creating an ice rink effect!! But on the plus side we have seriously cut down on the layers and today it actually got above freezing for the first time since I arrived.Things are still going well in work. I am really enjoying the Engish debating club - there are between 15 and 20 incredibly smart high school students who have great English levels. So last week I had my first class and we discussed child labour which was really interesting as they shared their views, and I took the role of devils advocate and challenged their views. There were only about 5 who actively participated but if I can even help them learn critical thinking that will be a huge achievement!As of next week I am going part time at MEA and will be working part time at the Confederation of Mongolian Trade Unions (CMTU) doing fund-raising but they also have a legal advocacy and a legal advice service so I am hoping I can even just observe those activities. So I will be working with them for the next 2 months which will be great - and nice to be learning more about Mongolia than me just staying at MEA. I am very excited.There have also been some developments in terms of APDC and the possibility of some work in the countryside offices as well as in UB which would be fabulous.We have had a few more leavers in the last few weeks which is always sad but hopefully they are going on to bigger and better things. We have also had a VSO program review for all the program areas (health, education, secure livelihoods and national volunteers) which has meant all the volunteers from the countryside have been in UB. It has been great to catch up with everyone and hear what they have been working on. It is also a great way to share skills and discuss issues we may be having within the program. So we have also had quite a few dinners out. We had one of the Arvaikheer volunteers staying with us which was also great to catch up with her and she will return the favour when I hopefully go down for a weekend next month.