South Gobi Province


On our second day in the Gobi, the team scheduled a visit to a camel herding camp a few hours drive from Dalanzadgad (location 43° 16'N; 105° 47'E). We left the aimag center at approximately 4:30 am in a two-vehicle caravan driven by Sumiya and Batbayar. After leaving town, the two cars began traveling at different speeds. Over time, the cars separated. Realizing that we were no longer in contact with the other vehicle, our vehicle stopped to scan the horizon for cars. Seeing none, we continued forward on our heading. We began to get a sense that we did not know where we were going. Every so often, a ger camp would appear in the distance. Batbayar navigated the vehicle to each ger, pulled the car within 25 meters from the ger door and began to honk the car horn. At an early hour, the ger inhabitant awoke from sleep and offered us assistance and directions. Eventually we used the directions to navigate to a crossroad with Sumiya's vehicle and continued together to the camel camp.

Along the road the team stopped at prayer circles. These circles consisted of a rock pile; small (usually blue) rags with prayers printed on them; and vodka bottles all assembled in an upward pointing cone shape. Practices for good luck required a person to pick up stones from the ground surrounding the circle and, while walking around the circle clockwise three times, toss the collected stones into the pile.

During the road stops we had an opportunity to observe the landscape and environment. In abundance we saw small stones, sand and grass. The stones were consistently small, mostly smooth and were colored in earth tones such as blue, green, grey, brown and red. Thousands of these stones composed each square meter. Rarely, a larger stone would be found, but most commonly stone size was smaller than 10 centimeters.

Another landscape component was grass. Approximately three grass tufts were located in each square meter of land. This spacing was reasonably consistent across the landscape. Grass density was low and stone density was high. At a close distance, the human eye could observe an abundance of stones and minimal grass. As we shifted gaze to the horizon, the slightly raised grass obscured the rock colors and created a blurred green optical effect on the extended horizon. Yet, the proportion of grass to stones never changed approaching the horizon.

After approximately four hours of navigation and driving, we arrived at the camel herding camp. Upon arrival, a noise filled our ears which can be described as a combination between camel singing and groaning. In western culture, the sound is similar to the sound of an orchestra warming up for a performance. The hundreds of camels in the camp constantly produced the oscillating drone.

Exiting the car, Batbayar walked into the camp to meet Bud, the head of the camel herding household. They greeted each other in the traditional Mongolian way with Bud's outstretched forearms resting over the top of Batbayar's elbows, Batbayar's outstretched arms under Bud's forearms, touching the underside of Bud's elbows. Bud then invited us to observe all of the operations in the camp. Three generations of Bud's family worked closely with each other and demonstrated many processes during our visit including camel wool sheering, deticking, domestication techniques, milking, riding, saddling and food and drink preparations.

Between demonstrations, all guests were invited into Bud's get. The team introduced the Trust concept to Bud and showed him the Papua New Guinea document on a laptop computer. Ts. Enkhtuya translated the conversation and explained the value system underpinning the work. Finally, the team invited Bud to participate in the process to which he happily agreed.

Back in Dalanzadgad, the team spent time meeting with local business operators. Businesses visited included a Saksaul tree nursery, a felt production incubator, an urban dairy, souvenir producers and a Goya vodka distillery. Before leaving Dalanzadgad, the team was able to meet with Chairman Batchuluun Lkhachin of the Citizens Representative Khural of Umnugobi aimag and discussed implementation of the Trust in the region.

The trip to the South Goby was sponsored by Khan Bank, the Mongolian National Business Incubator Federation, and the Oyu Tolgi Mining Company. Each sponsoring entity was linked to one or more business opportunities arising from the Trust program prior to departure.

Date Entered: July 2010

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Trust Items (must be logged in to view)

Baby-Integrated Animal Milking (Camel, Yak, and Horse)
Camel Wool Rope
Curved Pan Ger Stove
Gers
Planting Saksaul Trees in the Gobi Desert
Vodka Salutation