Arkhangai Aimag


Highlands

The provincial capital of Tsetserleg, of Arkhangai is a small urban center with about 16,500 inhabitants. It is built around an artesian spring that provides cool, potable water to the city.

The team was invited to meet with D. Aruinjargal, Director of the Division of Labour & Social Welfare in the aimag who was introduced to the Trust and then invited the team to meet local business leaders and social welfare providers. The team visited a regional health clinic, a hospital in the midst of rehabilitation, produce vendors at the city market and Sh. Lkhagvasuren; proprietor of the COST Company which specializes in baked goods and bottling water.

In order to reach our first camp, the team traveled 12 hours by jeep from Ulaanbaatar, covering approximately 450 kilometers. Due to melting snow and rain in the mountains, the Trust Team encountered flooding which slowed travel. The jeeps were able to ford all of the streams we encountered and we arrived safely to our ger camp.

In the morning, flood waters continued to rise and the host team met to discuss plans for the day. Originally, travel plans included a visit to a yak herding camp in the highlands but the flooding made travel there impossible. Instead, the host team chose to avoid flooded areas and travel to a different yak herding community located slightly further to the west.

To reach the first yak herding camp, we drove approximately two hours from the ger camp through the Ikhtamir soum. Along the way we saw snow covered mountains, rolling hills covered in patches of orange flowers, large pine forests, prayer circles, and flocks of sheep, yaks and goats.

Tuvshinjargal, the head matron at the first yak herder camp (location 47° 23'N; 100° 23'E) invited us into her family's ger to observe production and preparation of various dairy products. Tsend Enkhtuya explained the process and products to us in English. Tuvshinjargal demonstrated production of Shar tos (Yak Milk Yellow Oil) and Khailmag (Roo) as well as the stirring process for Tarag (yogurt) and the distillation of Arhii (Yak Milk Vodka). Urom (bubble butter), Zhuukii (butter), and Byaslag (cheese) had been previously made and were offered to all guests for tasting.

After these demonstrations, the MNBIF and Trust teams traveled to a Sainbileg's yak herding camp. Here, Ts. Enkhtuya and Sainbileg signed an agreement to constitute a yak dairy cooperative. MNBIF and M·CAM sponsored this operation in order to engage with the cooperative members present, but also with the herders the team was unable to visit due to flooding.

Horse herder Enkhbayar and family of the Tsenk soum in the Arkhangai aimag (location 47° 30'N; 101° 54'E) invited the Trust and MNBIF teams into their camp and informed us about the many facets of horse herding. This visit was only a few hours in length but extremely informative.

Enkhbayar's family members seemed to be in constant action. The younger son brought the horse herd into camp from the pasture. His wife demonstrated horse milking. Various members showed us how they hitched horses to wooden posts to keep them from wandering away. When it came time to prepare the large group meal, everyone of the family members pitched in to work on part of the process. Other guests, including MNBIF members also pitched in and helped butcher the goat, prepare and clean the carcass, separate and slice the internal organs, and begin the cooking and preservation processes. Some goat components such as blood and intestine were combined and cooked directly on hot coals. Other muscle, cuts similar to chops or tenderloin, were combined with potatoes, onions, carrots and river stones into a pressure cooker to create a stew.

Components of a disassembled ger were scattered north of the main living area. Enkhbayar illuminated the assembly process for the team.

The Hasu Shivert Resort is located in the Arkhangai aimag. Located at least 60km from Erdenebulgan soum center, this all-inclusive resort grows all the food, grain, animal meat, and milk on property for its guests. The facility can host 200 guests and has many health amenities all of which center around the 68°C natural hot springs. The springs fill a large outdoor swimming pool to provide relaxation to visitors. Throughout the year and particularly in the cold seasons, the facility uses geothermally heated water to heat the buildings.

We met with Munkhbat Hasu, the proprietor of the facility, who guided us through their operations. First we visited his A-Frame greenhouse. The greenhouse measured approximately 5 meters x 25 meters and had a large south facing wall. Inside drip irrigation provides water to pepper and tomato plants. Currently, the greenhouse can be used for approximately 4 months of the year; however Hasu hopes to add upgrades to the structure to extend his growing period. Next to the A-Frame greenhouse are two traditional domed greenhouses where many different types of seedlings were growing.

Outside of the greenhouses a hot water spring flows by and creates an ecosystem conducive to algae growth. This algae is harvested and used for healing skin and facial wraps inside the facility health spa.

Date Entered: July 2010

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Trust Items (must be logged in to view)

Baby-Integrated Animal Milking Process (Camel, Yak, and Horse)
Cooking with River Stones
Curved Pan Ger Stove
Gers
Nermel Arhi
Shar tos (Yak Milk Yellow Oil) and Khailmag (Roo)
Sohor Khar
Tavan Salaa
Yak Milk Fat Separation
Yak Yogurt Production