Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Jerry and Susan's home, in time, will be built less than a hundred yards from where the chapel ger is situated now. There is a flat table of land there, and it's part of the bluff I mentioned earlier. There will be a dugout basement, with large windows on one side, facing the river. I know I've described this before, but here are some pictures to give you an even better idea of what their home will be like:



After a little time of visiting and soaking up the beauty around us, we got back in the vans and returned to Darkhan. There we had a lovely lunch, and discussed our various plans for the rest of the day.

Some of us got into a van and were driven to the Birge (phonetic) market. It's an indoor/outdoor market, and we were told one could find just about anything there. It was hot, dirty, crowded and smelly. To further enhance the experience, there had been a rain shower and we had to navigate large puddles and contend with wet people crowding against us, even inside the buildings. We had been warned by Susan to watch out for pickpockets. (Remember, we're in town, not in the country.) We pushed our way through the crowd until Eloise and Cynthia found the fabric they were wanting to buy, to make more clothing for the kids.

With that purchase made, we ventured into the outdoor part of the market. That was interesting, to say the least. It was still drizzling rain, and the vendors had erected little plastic awnings in front of their shops. The shops, for the most part, were shipping containers, with one end open. You know what a shipping container is. They're actually pretty big, like a small room. Anyway, the rain was sluicing down off the edges of those awnings, and it was a whole new experience when one would dump about a gallon of water down the back of your neck! I didn't see much that interested me. Shoes that smelled strongly of rubber, thin t-shirts, piles of hairbows and trinkets, and lots of candy. I looked for some of the Gobi Gold, but didn't find it. Evidently it's a chocolate candy that is just marvelous. I love chocolate!!

Suddenly, miracle of miracles, I spotted some of my catsup. Different from the catsup at the hotel, it's the kind we had last year when we ate on-site at the remote clinics. It's like a cross between catsup and Tabasco, and I love it. The kind we get at the hotel is good too, and I want some of it, but it's milder than the kind I found at the market. I bought a huge bottle, for about 85 cents. Now, I have to figure out how to get it home.

With my catsup purchased, and the sewing team re-supplied with fabric, we head back to the vans. The rain stops, and I decide this might be a good time to visit the Internet Cafe, since the van can drop us off there. Eloise and Tammy and a couple of others got off with us, and I'm so glad we did it. I wouldn't have missed the experience for anything.

The Internet Cafe is accessed through a little doorway at the top of some stairs on the side of a building. There is a tiny waiting area with four chairs. Inside, the computer room is about twelve feet by 25 feet. There is a row of tables along one wall, with about ten computer terminals. Rickety plastic chairs are placed at each terminal. It's very informal. When a vacancy occurs, you just sit down and log on. You don't register, or get a time ticket or anything, just go to work. I accessed my favorite website, The Front Porch on the Andy Griffith Show website, and left a message for my porch-sitter friends. That's quite a porch. It extends all the way to Mongolia!

When I was finished, after about ten minutes, I walked over to a table where a young woman sat, with a small cashbox in front of her. She glanced at the clock on the wall, and told me I owed her the Mongolian equivalent of 33 cents. I paid her and we left. I didn't see any Starbucks coffee anywhere.

We walked back to the hotel, a distance of about four blocks. We moved slowly and carefully, in deference to my cranky knee. I made it just fine, no mishaps.

In what seemed a very short time, dinner was served and we joined the group in the dining room. As usual, the food was good, and we enjoyed it, as well as the fellowship. Eloise and I returned to our room, and Rhoda joined us for a while. Right after she left, we heard some dogs yelping and barking outside our window. I went out on the balcony, and saw four boys trying to make some dogs fight, and the dogs weren't interested. One boy saw me standing there, and took his dog and left. The other three remained. One had a small brown dog that he kept kicking and shoving toward a larger dog. The little dog was yelping and crying. Obviously, neither dog wanted to fight, but the boys were determined.

Finally, unable to tolerate the abuse any longer, I yelled at the boys. Of course they couldn't understand my words, but my tone was pretty clear. They picked up their dogs and moved out of sight, but I could still hear the dogs crying. If you know me, you know I wasn't going to let that lie. I went downstairs, out the door and walked down the sidewalk until I located the boys in an over-grown garden area. They were still on hotel property, and were still abusing the helpless dogs. I found myself wishing one of the dogs would bite his tormentor, but they never did. It made me sick. I went back inside and found David Bass. I told him what was going on, and he said he'd see what he could do. He told me that they had just recently rescued a small kitten from some boys who had set some dogs on it.

David told me later that the boys had moved off of hotel property, and had broken up their little session, so there was really nothing he could do about it. I would not expect to see something like that in the countryside, and consider this little display of callous cruelty to be just another example of the dehumanizing effects of poverty and wretched city living.

When I returned to the room, Eloise chided me for going after the boys, pointing out the risk, but I think she knew that I just couldn't stand by and listen to those poor dogs crying for help. I also think that if I hadn't done something, she would have.

By now, it's getting to be about bedtime, and we turn in, planning to read while there's still enough light. I wish we had thought about buying some light bulbs while we were at the market, but we didn't, so our room will be dark when the sun finally goes down. No problem, we're ready for sleep anyway, and it comes quickly, in spite of our anti-social beds.

1 comment:

samraat said...