Working at a farm in Mongolia

When we finally found Bayaraa in the city, he drove us on his motorbike to his place. His familiy lives in a wooden house, while we were staying in a tradtional yurt.

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Since it was already in the afternoon, we did not have much to do: Elisabet had to clean the dishes and I had to bring water from a watertank (since there is no constant water) to the house. His wife cooked dinner for us, we went to the lake nearby and slept our first night in a Yurt:)

On the next day we had no more excuses: We had to work. In the morning Elisabet was cleaning all the windows, while I was digging a hole for the new outhouse (no constant water = no toilet = outhouse experiences).  After lunch we removew the couch clothes and had to wash them all. It id quite interesting to use a washing machine, that has no current water. Meaning we had to put in and remove the water ourselfves. In the evening we decided to climb up the hill next to Khatgal, from where we had a nice view on the village and the lake (during a thunderstorm).

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For the next day we had a special adventure prepared: Since we had to go to Bayaraa’s sister’s farm to work there, we went this way by horse. For around 40 euros both, we had a guide and 2 horses to ride the for almost 8h through the beautiful landscape of Mongolia.

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In between we stopped at several Yurts and they always offered us the same: Mongol-tea (Suutei tsai), a salty and milky tea the Mongols drink the whole day with bread and selfmade butter. While in the beginning it tasted good, it started to become boring after the 3rd time (and there was more to come…)

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Once we arrived at the farm of his sister, we were quite shocked: They live in a really small and bad build wooden house, only with one room, where his sister, her husband and an old, sick woman live, eat and sleep all together. The next houses/Yurts are all some kilometers away. They have no current water as well and electricity is coming from a solar panel – which is enough for a little light, charging their cell phones and a TV. Luckily we had a tent, so we could sleep next to the house outside. Mongolian nights are really cold!!!

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Nobody there spoke any English, so it was quite hard for us to communicate with them. We learned that Mongolian farmers do mostly one thing during the day: Visiting each other, drinking tea and eating bread with butter (and in the evening maybe drinking some vodka…). Besides everything we could help Bayarlaa’s sister with some things:

  • We guided their Yaks in  the morning to the river and brought them back in the evening
  • We helped them milking the Yaks
  • We repaired the fence for the Yaks
  • We chopped a lot of wood for them
  • We collected the poo of the Yaks

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It was a really nice experience to get deep views into the life of a Mongolian farmer family and live for 3 days close to animals. Our ‘bosses’ were not too harsh with us and even though the work was sometimes hard we did not have to work too much.

Still there were some circumstances which were quite hard for us to adept for us:

  • To live without current water and soap – so far one week without showering!
  • For us Europeans horrible hygenical conditions: No fridge, plates are not really cleaned, the floor neither, fresh meat hanging everywhere in the house
  • The mongolian diet: Diary products (milk, yoghurt, butter), sheep meat (boiled with a lot of fat) and Mongol-Tea (we were not so sure if we could drink the water there)

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We are really greatfull that we could stay there and got pushed out of our comfort zone. We won’t forget our time there!

For the last day Bayarlaa needed our work again: He has a camp with Yurts for tourists, and since the season is over (getting to cold) we had to build down the Yurts there. So now we know how a Yurt works.

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Bayarlaa took us the next day to Moron, from where we had a 14h busride through the night to the capital, Ulaanbataar, where we are right now.

 

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