The Nomad herder had already ridden his horse home to the Ger we were going to sleep in. I was wading slowly through the snow taking in the scenery of snowy mountains, bare frorests and rocky outcrops under a setting Mongolian sun.
I heard a sheep murmur and then another sheep murmur that was a little higher in pitch. "Baa" went one and then much higher another responded "baa". What could that be? I followed the sound.
I climbed across a steep rock face that was so steep all the snow had sunk off. And I came to them.
There was a wet newborn lamb dragging itself across the ground with its mother licking its wet wool. The lamb couldn't walk yet but it kept up the high pitched baaing as its mother coddled.
I knew it was newborn from the bulging dark red bubble of blood the mother still had stuck to her back side.
I spent ages photographing them. I began to plan how these two could fit in the radio program I'm making. It's on a nomad's winter camp and I've already got so much to say. I'm volunteering at the Voice of Mongolia in English radio program, part of the journalism internships offered by Projects Abroad.
Anyway, I must've spent a while as the nomad guy comes riding back to me. He can't speak English of course so I just point frantically to where the lamb is and he follows me there. He picks it up and carries it on his horse back to the Ger. He manages to at the same time herd the mother there so he can lock them up together safe from the wolves.
The great thing about journalism is you're always working. Another program I made was on Mongolian food. For a couple of weeks I carried around the little handheld recorder they gave me and made some comments when I ate something new. Then I jumped in the studio, gave a bit of background and played the recordings.
To make it interesting, I ate more than just the classic Mongolian dishes Buuz (steamed dumplings) and Khuushuur (fried dumplings). I also found some Vital Organ Soup, a sheep's head, a horse's intestine, milky tea with meat and a few other things.
The first program I made was on winter tourism in Mongolia. I proposed about ten story ideas to the people at work and they really like that one.
So I did some research, imterviewed a tour company, and one day drove out to the Sky Resort with a colleague and her husband. She organised for me to interview the tourism manager, which I greatly enjoyed. I learnt why they started the resort, how it lets Mongolian winter sport athletes train there for free and how its probably the cheapest ski resort in the world.
Then he grabbed one of the English-speaking engineers there and he gave us a tour of their snowmaking facilities. There's heaps of snow on the ground but it's not enough for skiing so they make some and then smooth it out with a special truck. The program really benefited from a first-hand interview and tour with an engineer.
But to be honest, those programs were pretty bad. I had no experience in radio so my speaking was poor and my editing atrocious. But that's the great thing about being here, I learnt from it and my third program was a great improvement.
The thing about journalism is you need experience. You can have a PhD in media, a sexy voice, great writing, better research skills and a natural ability with interviews, but none of that matters without experience. You need a resume with newspaper clippings or a disk of radio or TV clips.
In my home country, Australia, "breaking in" and getting the first of these is bloody hard. But in a smaller and less affluent country like Mongolia it's not so hard. So with absolutely nothing to my name I came to Mongolia and immediately began producing my own radio programs. And the programs weren't just dumped on a computer, they were transmitted by the government broadcaster all over the world and online.
I'm no great journalist but with this experience I'm a better one.
The other reason to come here is the country itself. Living here with a Mongolian family you learn more about the place than you ever could bashing away at google back home. And you meet more people and experience things you just couldn't if you were passing through on holiday.
I'd also recommend the non-journo placements. The volunteers all agree, back home they'd never be doing what they're doing here. One guy here now is an experienced barrister from Australia, he's helping re-write some criminal law. A girl from England just finished her Psychology course and is here for five months. She said she's already met all the experts in her field here and she's doing real work she would need at least some experience back home.
The humanitarian placements may well be the best. You only need to walk down the street to see how hard life must be for some people here.
By Peter Bowers
Nicholas Campbell-McBride is a Journailsm Volunteer who is working at the UB Post, Mongolian First Independent Weekly Newspaper. This article is one example of his great initiative works. Enjoy it!
By Nicholas Campbell-McBride
The State Central Clinical Hospital which was renamed as “Hospital 1” in 1960 is ranked as a third level medical service and it runs professional courses such as majored doctors, residential, nurse etc. It is also considered as an important scientific research center in the country. Projects Abroad Mongolia has been co operating with this hospital since 2001 and we sent lots of volunteers to this hospital. Annabel Hunt was one of those challenging volunteers at the Hospital and during her project she organized a “Hand hygiene” program and made a presentation about hand washing for the workers of the State Central Hospital. Recently, Projects Abroad Mongolia staffs visited to the State Central Clinical Hospital and donate the hand hygiene tissues and nurse carriage based on her co operation and willing to donate as a continuation of her program which she held in Mongolia. We are happy to convey their thankfulness to Annabel Hunt.
I am happy to submit you all Rosie Slowe's great article which was published at UB post, mongolia's independent english weekly news, last wednesday. Eventhough she just started her volunteering project at UB post a week ago, she has already explored UB city well enough and wrote an excelent article. She is being a great example of working hard, being responsible and adapting in new country, new culture and new people. After this amazing work she took an entire page from UB post and now she is already working on her next big article. This is her Article you can find it on http:/
By Rosie Slowe
The vehicles competing in the Mongol Rally have started arriving in Mongolia with the 25th competing team reaching the finish line in Ulaanbaatar on Thursday 9th August.As these well travelled cars crawl and jolt their way across the border, huge benefits for the country come with them.
The Mongol Rally is an annual car race starting in Europe and ending in Mongolia with the final leg of the journey taking the surviving vehicles on to the finish line in Ulaanbaatar. The distance coveredby the competing teams is around 13,000 kilometers and is expected to take three to six weeks to complete. The rally is not a traditional race; there is no set route to take and no recognition given to the first team to finish. There are no time trials and the participating cars are forbidden from breaking the speed limit.
The current 2012 rally is the ninth Mongol Rally event. The First rally took place in 2004 with 6 teams taking part and only 4 making it to the finish line. Over the last eight years the rally has significantly grown in size and is now the biggest event of its kind. This year 277 teams, consisting of between 2-4 people each, are competing. Out of the 764 people taking part in the rally there are 660 men and 104 women from all over the world. With more competitors and vehicles taking part the benefits the Mongol Rally brings has dramatically increased. Nonetheless with hundreds of people wanting to compete in the rally each year there has become a need to manage the arrival of the vehicles in a sustainable fashion.
Adventures for Development in Mongolia (AFDM) is the Mongolian charitable grant-makingorganisationthat provides a responsible system by which the Mongol Rally vehicles can enterthe country. AFDM is a registered NGO in Mongolia and a partner organisation of Adventure for Development, a UK registered charity. Both organisations aim to ensure money raised by adventure teams is delivered to worthwhile projects that will make a real difference to peoples’ lives and impact local communities.
AFDM works closely with both the Mongolian authorities and local people. Ithas a number of different roles in the logistics of the rally with the overall objective being to maximise the benefit for Mongolia. On their arrival in Ulaanbaatar, the rally cars are handed over to AFDM who ensures they are repaired to a good roadworthy level so that they pass the Mongolian road safety examination. AFDM then auctions off the cars and distributes the funds raised to carefully selected charity projects within the country. Every year AFDM is able to raise huge amounts of money to help a number of excellent Mongolian charities. As AFDM has noadministration costs all money raised by donations goes directly to the sponsored projects.
Below is an interview with BaigalGonor who has been head of the AFDM since it was established in 2008. She explains how the NGO is designed to maximise the benefit of the Mongol Rally for Mongolia.
-How does AFDM ensure the whole process is clear and easy to manage for the Mongolian authorities?
-AFDM pays the border taxes on behalf of the cars as soon as they arrive at the border and liaises with Customs and the traffic police.
-Have you had a positive response from the government?
-Customs loves to work with us as they are getting the taxes and greatly appreciate the amount of money from the taxes that is coming in.
-What is AFDM’s role in ensuring the money raised from the vehicles taking part in the rally is distributed to selected charities?
-AFDM receives the cars donated by the teams on their arrival in Ulaanbaatar. AFDM then sells the vehicles to pay the taxes. Afterwards the profits are put towards charitable projects.
-What are these charitable projects?
-The profit figures from the 2011 rally were received in 2012. This money is going towards funding the development of an online e-books library for school children of Mongolia. The profits from this year’s rally are going to go towards enabling the online library to be promoted and delivered to schools so that it is more accessible to the children.
-Do you use Mongolian mechanics to fix the donated cars in order to ensure that the process of auctioning them off also provides employment for local people?
-Yes we use Mongolian mechanics.
The rally in-fact gives lots of employment throughout its duration as many Mongolians are needed to ensure the logistics of the event runs smoothly.
-Are the Mongol Rally and AFDM generally seen in a good light by the Mongolian people?
-Yes, they are normally seen in a very positive light as they provide funding for charities helping children. People also love to come and buy the cars. They are great for families in the city who can’t afford expensive cars.
So the arrival of the Rally cars benefits Mongolia in many ways. Not only do the profits from auctioning the vehicles raise money for worthwhile charitable projects but money is also raised from taxes and the donated vehicles means that cheaper cars are available in the market place.
Rob Mills, the British Mongol Rally Chief, who has been working for the rally since 2010, has emphasisedthese latter two, often overlooked, positive impacts of the Mongol Rally. He stated that‘the rally is the highest tax payer on the western border bringing a huge amount of money into the country.’This amounts to roughly 0.2% of the national GDP.
And when the cars come into the country they don’t just benefit Mongolia through the taxes they pay on arrival, they also enable the country’s need for certain vehicles to be met. Mills explained that ‘the rally provides the opportunity for middle class families to become mobile by purchasing cheap cars. Without the donated vehicles they would otherwise be unable to afford cars as the only other ones imported into the country are international brands, such as Toyota, which only the rich can afford.’ Mills also pointed out that through the rally many emergency vehicles have been brought into the country; ‘there were nearly 200 ambulances taking part in the rally between 2009 and 2011, the emergency services are now saturated.’
By completing the rally in an ambulance or fire engine teams are able to help greatly the Mongolian emergency services. One team from Sweden that arrived in Ulaanbaatar on the 7th of August had gone through great efforts to acquire an ambulance that they could drive for the rally. They explained that they did this because they felt like they were doing a good and beneficial deed leaving it here once they had finished.
All in all, as the government has stipulated thatevery car competing must be less than 10 years old or one which will be of particular use to Mongolian charities, such as emergency vehicles, the rally is only bringing into the country the vehicles it needs.
Along with the profits made from auctioning these highly demanded donated cars, the rally also makes money for charity in a separate way. It is conditional for all teams competing in the event to raise over $780 each through sponsorship and this is then donated to a Mongolian charity. This year all proceeds raised will be going towards the Lotus Children’s Centre, a school to take care of at risk or orphaned children in Ulaanbaatar. The total amount expected to be raised by the teams for this official sponsored charity of the Mongol Rally 2012 is set to be more than $450,000.
A representative from the charity explained how the money raised would go towards running costs, including food bills, school bills, and clothing for the children. She said that ‘the charity helps Mongolia’s street children better themselves and have a brighter future’. There are currently 85 children in the centre aged between 4 and 20. Many of the children do have families but have been taken away from them by social services for numerous reasons.
The Mongol Rally chose the Lotus Children’s Centre to be its official charity this year as it felt the centre would make the most out of the funds raised by the teams to benefit Mongolian Children. This positive impact on the country is recognised by those competing in the rally, many of whom intend to visit the centre on the arrival in Ulaanbaatar so that they can see where the money they have raised is going. One team that arrives this week told me ‘the rally is such a good cause, we feel like we have done something good for Mongolia’.
Considering all the benefits the Mongol Rally brings to the country it is good to hear that the competing teams have been greeted with such hospitality. This is particularly promising as it means a number of the participators will stay in Mongolia for a while and the country can benefit from revenue generated by tourism.
Teams have talked about how on the final stretch of their long journey across Mongolia everyone has been so kind. They spoke of being received with friendly faces and said that often locals would drive alongside their cars hooting and waving, making them feel welcome. One of the most recent teams to have reached the finish line, called ‘Two and a Half Men,’ said the Mongolian people had been so welcoming to them during their eight day drive across the country. One of the drivers said that his first impression was that Mongolians were ‘the nicest people in the world.’
Of course as the rally is an endurance test for vehiclesthat are fundamentally unsuited to rallying, some cars do not make it to the finish line. I spoke to one member of the competing team entitled ‘Team of Choice’ who arrived in Ulaanbaatar on the 5th of August, but whose car did not. It had broken down after arriving in Mongolia and the drivers had had to take a coach for two and a half days to reach the capital. Every cloud, however, has a silver lining and this car was still towed to a rally check off point so will be donated in the usual way. Furthermore, the team members learnt about the kindness of the Mongolian people. The rally driver said that everyone was so kind and helpful to them as they struggled to finish their long journey. And this is the beauty of the Mongol Rally; it is not simply adventure tourism,but something that enables local people and the ralliers to interact at a grass route level as those competing are completely reliant upon the hospitality of the people they meet along the way.
Last year the Mongol Rally received some bad press here in Mongolia. However, this was all based on unfounded fabrications, such as the rumour that some cars were importing nuclear waste into the country.
On the whole the rally is looked upon positively by the Mongolian people who recognise how much it benefits the country and in so many different ways. Not only is a huge amount of revenue generated by taxes, but the rally itself provides additional employment for local people. The Mongol Rally also brings useful vehicles into the country and raises money for worthwhile charities by auctioning off the donated cars and through the teams sponsorship as well. Furthermore, the rally boosts the economy by fueling tourism every year.
So as the competing vehicles continue to make their way into the city over the next month or so let us greet the competing teams with open arms and kind hospitality.
Rebecca Jacobs started her volunteering project as a journalism in Mongolia a week ago. Her first article is published at UB post, mongolia's indepenent english weekly news, and now she is working on her next article. This is an easy example that we can see how Projects Abroad Volunteers are influencing in society in many ways and how far their hands and words can reach all over the world. This is her Article and you can find it on http:/
By Rabecca Jacobs
Mongolia had never before competed at an Olympic event until 1964. The idea of winning a medal must have seemed like a distant dream. Yet the Olympics is now a dominant presence in several sports, particularly freestyle wrestling and Judo. The number of athletes from Mongolia competing has increased considerably in recent years, with the London games playing host to the largest ever Mongolian contingent. Two gold medals were won in Beijing while a bronze and silver have already been achieved in London. In the words of the head of the Mongolian Olympic committee, the Mongolians are a ‘rather sporty bunch’
Huge and densely populated countries such as India have not experienced nearly as much success in the Olympics, as India won its first ever gold medal in Beijing. Indeed, for a country with fewer than 3 million people, Mongolia punches well above its weight, as noted by TIME Magazine. Its Beijing achievement gave it the sixth highest ratio of medals per capita. So, why do sports flourish in modern Mongolia, and where do they fit in with the country’s social and cultural history?
Mongolia’s sporting successes can be viewed as very much the consequence of the strength of the modern Mongolian nation. While other nations are in recession, Mongolia is experiencing an economic boom. The recent growth of its economy (17% last year) has allowed its sports to receive an increase in funding.
But far from being the fruit purely of modern Mongolia, representing a departure from its ancient culture, Mongolia’s sporting successes in fact stems from, and fits in with, its historical infrastructure and traditions. Naadam nurtures an environment in which sports are cherished. The country’s traditional nomadic livelihood similarly fosters athleticism: as Makhbaatar points out, ‘when you get up at dawn to milk the camels, it builds a natural fitness. Nature is harsh and it breeds endurance in us ’.
The nomadic lifestyle, then, is conducive to athletic success. Tuvshinbayar credits his success to his upbringing. Like many nomadic herders, he grew up wrestling and only started formal training at eighteen.
Sports are something which unites Mongolia’s country and city dwellers—past and present. Naadam pays homage to the excitement and interest with which Mongolians view sporting events. The Olympics similarly hold sway over the imaginations of the country’s inhabitants. The reaction of members of the Mongolian broadcast team following the success in judo bears to the sense of patriotism these games inspire in the country’s people. Mongolia’s jackets were worn, the flag was hoisted up, and the crew danced in the aisles, a reaction which surpassed even that of the home broadcasters in Britain.
The judo outfits and boxing gloves sold in Ulaanbaatur after the 2008 Olympics demonstrated the enthusiasm and patriotism that the Olympics inspired in the people. Satellite television reaches the most remote ger. One British journalist remarked upon the fact that, in the Gobi, she met several nomads who had a working knowledge of the NBA and NHL. Sports are something the entire nation can share in and enjoy as its benefits are all-encompassing, as noted by TIME Magazine.
The Olympics should be heralded as a testimony both to Mongolia’s current successes, and to the integrity of its traditions and history. Without the present prosperity of the Mongolian economy, there would not be the funding available to support the training of athletes. Equally, without the nomadic traditions which privilege and foster athleticism, the abilities and inspiration of the Mongolian athletes would not be in such abundance.
As the judo coach, Khurelbaatur, states, ‘by succeeding in the Olympic we are demonstrating to the world the success of Mongolia in its development, its culture and its economics’. The games transcend their status as a sporting event but rather represent the coming together of Mongolia’s past and present, the fusion of its modernity and traditions.
Marry Choquette was a great care volunteer in Mongolia Project Abroad last november. Even she spent 2 weeks at the Infant Clinical Care Center, she mad great contribution to this center and its children. Recently we recieved a package from her for the kids of the clinical center. We felt her generosity to those orphan kids and it was our pleasure to deliver this donation. You can see happy faces of those kids on the photos below when they recieve the gift. We are happy to convey the kids and staffs of that center's appreciation to Marry Choquette.
When I’ve arrived to the center, a lot of children were running all over the place. They seem curious about me, come to me and ask for some questions, in Mongolian but in English too! They were all really cute.
During these two days, I’ve made some activities with them and for the most of them they really enjoyed it!
The “Jungle Speed” card playing with older ones was so funny and all of them wanted to play again and again. With younger ones, I’ve made some pencil drawing. All of them gave me their creations and a little girl writes me a short message to tell me how nice it was to spend this time altogether and want me to come again…
The second day, because all of us seem to be very punchy, I’ve decided to go for a gymnastic and dance day. They were excited and enjoyed to get exercise and, as well, they used me up! What a good time in music it was with them.
I’ve already just gave them a little bit of my time and they gave me so much more than this, their smile and their happiness. What a nice moment it was. Thank you to all of them!
Tiffany Witkowski was one of the creative volunteer. She also spent one day at the detention center with kids. Her contribution was a expression of her love to the kids and generosity. It was fun and everyone felt warm in their heart during “Playdo” activity.
Arthad Kurlekar is a student of the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences
Indian Media and Legal Awareness
The Indian Media is blatantly oblivious to the importance of legal awareness. There is only one publication magazine Legal Era for the purpose of dissemination of legal events through out the country. Newspapers or the mainstream media have very little technical knowledge of new laws. As India is a common law country judgments are important. Newspapers often commit a red herring fallacy as they decide to pick up a line from the judgment and blast it as the headline out of context. Debates or editorials are far less researched upon and are done without in depth knowledge. In a debate pertaining to in camera trials, which mean that the media is banned from those trials, a so called expert went against the idea as he though in-camera meant that the trial would be recorded. This is the level which legal awareness has come down to.
Misinformation is on the rise. Lack of awareness is still preferable to a false pretense of awareness. Prominent newspapers like the Times of India do not have staff qualified enough to differentiate the ‘obiter dictum ‘from the judgment and the ‘ratio- descidendi’ of the judgment and still opine on the obiter comment made, saying that the Supreme Court ‘ruled’ which makes the reader believe that the Supreme Court has made it a law whereas the truth is that it still is obiter.
Law holds a principle ‘ignorentiajuris non-excusat’ that is ignorance of law is not an excuse. Law presumes that everybody knows the law after it has been passed. It is the job of the media to fill up the gap between this legal fiction of knowledge of the law and the reality of the public not knowing of it. Thus the job of the media or newspapers or magazines is not only to report and make people are but a tougher job of providing them with unbiased, true reflection of the situation.
“Breaking News” is a board which flashes on Indian news channels everyday. The objectivity has been sacrificed for sensationalism. What remains of it is the shepherd wolf story. Nobody knows what actually is breaking news and what has been put up as breaking news. This gives rise to 2 broad streams of thought. 1. People who do not trust the media and thus remain oblivious to the world. 2. People who trust the media and are misinformed.
The Media has a positive influence on the public as well. During the JessiccaLal Murder case it was public awareness through media that was crucial on the public situation. Media is a driving force in the Indian Society. Expanding the legal awareness in people is important function of the media which at present time Indian Media fails to perform substantially.
Arthad's volunteer experience with Projects Abroad
My internship experience here is the first time theoretical knowledge gained in the classroom at my University was going to be tested. On the first day here I was introduced to the Head of the International Law Department Soyolmaa. She very kindly accepted me as an intern and so began a new experience of practical application of my theoretical knowledge.
I was assigned work in Comparative Contract Law. Munkhtuya (the researcher whose intern I was) initially gave me summarization work. I took articles published around the world and summarized and analyzed them. At first I was unsure of the purpose of the exercise and thus was slow. Gradually as I understood the nature of work I got adapted to doing more work in lesser time.
I found the work culture at the National Legal Institute very different and nice from most other academic institutions. At this institute I found everybody very friendly and co-operative to one another. Though there were some researchers fluent with English I had some problem communicating with those who were not so proficient, my negligible knowledge of Mongolian being the reason. But everybody was patient with me and tried to explain unclear elements as hard as they could until I understood them.
Moreover though contracts is not one of my most favorite subjects, my interest in Comparative Law and constant support provided by Munkhtuya and Soyolmaa (my supervisor) helped me a lot. In the later part of my internship I had a slightly difficult task: taking a holistic approach to the issue of e-contracts and making my own analysis of the various recommendations. The principles of Common Law taught by my professor and the reference material provided by Munkhtuya came to good use in this task.
Overall my time at the Institute taught me a lot, refined my research skills and made me apply the various doctrines of common law learnt in class to make a comparative analysis. I had come with an expectation and hope to learn new things. My experience here far exceeded my expectation. I am very grateful to Soyolmaa for giving me this opportunity and Munkhtuya for providing constant guidance and support throughout my time here.
Contortion is an unusual form of acrobatic display which involves dramatic flexing and bending of human body. This difficult performing art has a long and deep rooted tradition in Mongolia.
Mongolian traditional contortion is a form of acrobatics involving dramatic bending and flexing of the human body into complicated positions including the human knot, head-sit, splits and dislocations. Contortion is often part of acrobatics and circus acts. In general, "contortionists" have unusual natural flexibility, which is then enhanced through acrobatic training, or they put themselves through intense, vigorous and painful training to gain this flexibility.
In Mongolia, many people (mainly girls) learn contortion because of a passion or as a career as it is considered a nationally respected art form that holds cultural importance. This is practiced mostly by females who begin training in early childhood; for those who become contortionists a career rarely lasts past the age of 40.
Contortion displays the beauty and flexibility of the human body, incorporating elements of Mongolian dance and Buddhist fine arts. It is performed at some rituals as well as festive events.
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