And then the winds came
on Sarah in Mongolia (Mongolia), 05/May/2010 08:06, 34 days ago
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The crazy spring weather has continued. Although it is now consistently warm (and it even hit positive 21 on Friday!) over the weekend we had some strong winds which brought with them dust storms. But before we get to that I'll fill you in on what else has been going on in Mongolia.It has been a quiet week in work. My fundraising proposals for CMTU got submitted and I have two trainings to prepare for in May so that will keep me busy for the next few weeks. At MEA we are still working away on a couple of proposals one for STARS and finalising the funding agreement with Mongol Charity Rallies.I received my leavers pack this week as I am leaving in 4 months time! It was a bit of a shock to the system but it got me thinking. I have 4 months left (or just under now) and at least 8 weeks of that will be spent travelling/at VSO conference/spending time with Mum. So I have literally 8/10 weeks left at placement! Scary thought.So I have started work on a couple of fundraising folders. I finish at CMTU at the end of May so I am working on theirs first and it will basically include all my training materials, funding proposals we have written, lists of potential funders and then useful documents and guidelines for fundraising. I will also do one for MEA and also for VSO as I don't think there are going to be many fundraisers here next year. MEA have also committed to hiring a fundraiser locally so I will have to train that person up when they are hired and hopefully they will successfully take over from me.On Friday I had another random Mongolian experience - when I said I was going to Mongolia our next door neighbours of course happened to know a guy who owned a cashmere factory in Ulaanbaatar. Recently I got in touch with him and when we eventually were both free he invited me out to see his cashmere factory. It was absolutely fascinating, although I still have no idea about what was actually going on most of the time! His cashmere was just fabulous - I am going to have a lot of excess luggage on my way home if I keep visiting cashmere shops!It was a busy week socially even if it was quiet in work. One of the "house husbands" (husband accompanying a volunteer) has set up an organisation called Mongol Expat which organises activities for expats to network in Ulaanbaatar. He has organised Wednesday night ex pat drinks which is a great opportunity to meet people outside your own group. The people there range from volunteers to miners and missionaries so it is a good group to mix in. And they have organised cheap drinks!! Always a good sell to poor volunteers!Thursday night I did dinner and a movie swap with another volunteer and then on Friday we headed to the St Georges day party at the British Embassy. The last thing I thought I was going to see in Mongolia was Morris dancing! Accompanied by snacks of steak and kidney pie and mushy peas! It was a good night, if a little strange!The weekend itself was spent outside enjoying the beautiful weather. On Saturday Mongol Expat had organised a picnic just outside UB on the river Tuul. Unfortunately when we were walking there it was really windy and that kicked up some dust storms. I did not know it was possible to get sand in so many places. It was engrained into my pores, got through my clothes, into my ears and my teeth! Horrible! But once we got to the picnic spot it was pretty sheltered so we avoided the worst of it. The picnic itself was great fun, a good group of people were there, but mostly our regular crowd. Half way through lunch a herd of goats and sheep were driven down to the river by their herders to drink. The baby goats were absolutely adorable!On Sunday we sadly said goodbye to another volunteer. The wife of our country director has been offered another post in Bangladesh. I am so pleased for her, but sad for us as she has been so welcoming to all volunteers and she is a fabulous cook! And she cooked for us one last time at a barbeque on Sunday. It was pot luck and the food was absolutely fabulous! Some ex pats here can really whip up fab food with very few supplies.