With regard to the title of this blog, that's right, me. It was however, a fluke. Sorry Tisha Tash I am not going anywhere fast with learning Mongolian- it is the hardest language ever! All the letters make different sounds and their alphabet is different 80% of the time anyway- just AHH! :P So far though (be proud peeps) I can say: Genghis Kahn, hello, thank you, bye, what's up?, knife, fork, spoon, sugar, dumpling and yes.
I am in a routine now and really can't believe how fast this week has flown by??? I come home in four weeks?? Just nuts.... So soooo much has again happened and I am just exhausted from it all to be quite honest!! My feet haven't touched the ground long enough to even think about home or anything for that matter! Here is a week in the life of Anna-whilst-in-Mongolia...:
Wednesday- LIE IN! Projects Abroad office in morning
15:45- 17:30 Mongolia Children's Palace
Thursday- 9- 17:30 Mongolia Children's Palace
Friday- 9-12 Golden Bridge
12-6 Projects Abroad office
Saturday- volunteer outings
Sunday- day off (theoretically) :P
In between these times, I have to fit in socialising, the journalist group, lesson planning and everything else. Hard work this is! I thought life would be quite leisurely here as I was originally only assisting in lessons and working just 3 days a week but no, no rest for the wicked as it is quickly turning into a stress test :P! Still loving it though- every pant-poopingly (sooo coining that term) scary second!
So on Wednesday I didn't start my work until the afternoon (and I came into the office and wrote to you all) and another supervisor was concerned that I had so much time off so got me ANOTHER placement for Monday and Friday mornings- bugger. ;) This one is at the Golden Bridge language centre which is right next door and interestingly, is affiliated to the university of Cambridge of all places! It is part of a chain and is the largest language in Mongolia. I felt mighty important ;)- it turns out I am their first volunteer.
The head honcho dude (technical lingo there) was really nice and keen to have me there teaching the intermmediate and higher students. He also seemed keen to help me with the health and safety awards and although he said it would not really be useful in the school, his wife had contacts of children's homes, NGO's etc where it would be more needed. I actually went into Golden Bridge today (my first day) and it emerged that they have a lot of Mongolian volunteers there who want to make a difference but don't know how. I, being the saint that I am (paha- I'm so self-righteous), have set up a one day programme (thsi sunday- goodbye day off :() to teach them how to teach health and safety. They can then go into underprivelaged areas and teach young children without the language barrier. It's like the old saying- give a man a fish and he will eat for a day but give him a fishing rod and he will eat for life. Well, unless you overfish or something?
The head of Golden Bridge also mentioned something about a teaching program in the countryside to miners (uranium and coal) over a weekend? He casually asked me if I was interested- I OF COURSE said yes- so I really hope that comes to something as I really don't have any time to get out and see the real Mongolia with all of this charitable crap? (ooo hello dark sense of humour?)
Yesterday was my first full day at the Children's Palace where I learnt I get more free internet- YAY! But yes, contrary to my job description, I will actaully be teaching alone?? So yes, some frantic googling has been done and I have invented some basic language games. I managed to blag this week with talking about my life in England which I have now done six times. At one and a half hours a time, there are only so many times you can do a Scottish accent with the same enthusiasm. It is also really funny that when I asked them if they knew any famous English people, they always said Simon Cowell?? Closely followed are footballers from the boys- it turns out the nickname "Shrek" for Wayne Rooney is an internationally sweeping thing?
In my last blog, I think I said something about the school actually being quite well off but after sharing lunch with my supervisor there yesterday I have changed my mind. The nice building is a facade for the small amount they actually have. True, they do have hundreds and hundreds of books donated by the Asia Foundation in the classroom, but they are essentially useless. Their main purpose seems to be to assume US dominance over another frontier. For example, they possess 15 copies of Anthony and Cleopatra (clearly the remnant of a US highschool) and 3 copies (brand new) of the Story of Buzz Aldrin- I only wish I was joking.
It made me unspeakably angry and I had an emotional moan at the teacher about America. Yes, at- language barriers are wonderful things. They do however have the money to spare to provide a poster of the United States and information posters detailing American culture. The really sad thing is that the Mongolians don't even realise that they have been given, excuse my language but I feel I am justified. We're going to get them books guys when I come home as it just isn't right- it really effected me in a way that I didn't think this trip would- they too are human beings and deserve better. If we don't have a use for book, what on earth possesses us to pack it off to Mongolia?? I'm sure on this front English NGO's are just as guilty.
Can you feeeeel the anger burning through the screen?
Right I REALLY should do this health and safety booklet in preparation for Sunday. And email Sebastian at the BSC and lots of other things- again spent far too long on this. Journalism meeting at 3pm too.
See you in four weeks chumlings and wish me luck with the horse riding tomorrow... HA! I really am missing you all so so much!
Here, take this parcel of huggage and lovage. If not desired return to Sukhbaatar district, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.