After the wonderful time on the island, I hopped on the train again with the next destination: Mongolia. A country that had a fascinating effect on me. This time, I really wanted to dive into the culture and thought that the best way to doing so was to live with a local nomad family. An organization called nomadic ways helped me to organize such a homestay.
It was such a great experience, I loved every moment of it. I had wonderful, friendly and happy hosts. For ten days, Dulmaa and Purwee shared with me their home, a traditional yurt (the most beautiful ones of all of the yurts I’ve seen), in the Mongolian steppes. Although, we didn’t speak the same language, we soon found a way of communication – with hand, feet, gestures, body language, drawings and searching words in the german/mongolian dictionary. This was a lot of fun! 🙂
Our day-to-day was very much about taking care of the herds – sheep and goats, cattle and horses – and processing the milk and preparing food. So whenever some animals got lost we went to get them, sometimes walking long distances in the steppe or on the back seat of Dulmaa’s motorbike (that was always funny). Her husband would take the horse and sometimes take me with him to bring the cattle to the place near the yurt to milk them. As it was dry season, we had to bring them to the water hole. It was always interesting to observe the animals’ behavior – a power game.
The biggest challenge for me was probably the food and drinks…right at my arrival, we went to catch one sheep and it was killed in my honor and would be our main ingredient for the dishes during my stay. We ate every piece of it, it was always very carefully and very varied prepared. The day before I left the family, we also caught a few male sheep which immediately lost their intimate manhood and were released again…we had a doctor with us who showed me how this works…so careful guys..hahaha…apparently, this part offers plenty of vitamins…and was served in a soup during our last dinner together – vitamins, much different! 😉
Our main drink was milk tea which I liked very much. Then we had fermented mare’s milk, homemade schnapps (destilled fermented yoghourt) and Mongolian vodka that was often served when visiting neighboring (min. 1km away) yurts or when receiving visitors that came spontaneously and always found the door open and something warm to drink and eat. Great hospitality! And often, like on the weekend for example, you would go from yurt to yurt…vodka, vodka, vodka… 😉
They were a modern nomad family, after living some years in the city of Ulan Bataar, they had decided to live their life in the country side. Their kids however stayed in the city with the grandparents to enjoy the opportunities of better education. Apart from the animals (total of about 600), Dulmaa also managed the local mobile phone antenna and Purwee was helping with his mechanical engineering skills fixing cars of neighbors. They also had a solar panel that allowed us some light even after sunset. By the way, sunset was beautiful!
The ten days were so full of life and discoveries and action – so many wonderful, funny and very intense intercultural moments. I am so grateful for this unforgettable experience, grateful to Dulmaa and Purwee, you are wonderful people, I cannot thank you enough!