Sunday, April 17, 2011

Handing out the Goods.

Day four. We made it back into the city with the usual delay.

I had laid out all the goodies and donations from New York, because originally I planned to bring a good portion with me to the country side. But we left in such a mad rush that I had no time to get organized.

Upon our return everything was still on display. Because we wanted to make it a scene for the film, Blake and I decided to postpone the distribution. The kids eyed the clothes, but didn’t say a word. I felt bad to tease them, but no one had any energy left for excitement anyways.

The next day, I just yelled out “presents” when the doorbell rang.

Selenge arrived. We had awaited her eagerly, particular Baaskaa and me, because we needed to talk and this was an exchange that required a translator. Without much introduction, the conversation started. What do they look forward to in the future, what was their grievances and experience since I saw them last?
It was a very heated discussion where emotions ran high and the revelations weren’t always pretty. Nothing I didn’t see coming, but still, it is difficult to see them be disappointed, to see them struggle and be fearful of the very same things you try to protect them from.
If you want to get more details, you’ll have to wait until the film comes out.

After the conversation we were so exhausted that no one cared about presents. Hours later, finally, we were all ready and up for it. This time I called out “presents” and they came running.

I handed out the jackets, shoes, sweaters, sport pants, matching hats, scarves & gloves, backpacks, rain jackets and the remaining underwear from last year. The kids were on cloud nine. Every time they thought that’s it, I found something else, something new.

It was hard not to get carried away and give them all of the clothes – I wanted to keep at least half of the donations to give to the care center kids.

Baaskaa was most happy when I gave him the sleeping bag. He watched me in my sleeping bag for the last two years and I could tell he really liked it. In addition, he was dreaming about living on his own soon, so getting a sleeping bag was perfect timing.

At some point Baaskaa looked around and asked: so, this is all the same brand?
And yes indeed, it was. I am a big North Face fan, always have been. Blake was decked out in North Face and now all the kids had a good amount of North Face gear. In Mongolia North Face is available, but it's rare and expensive.

Whenever we would go out, we looked like a walking advertisement billboard. Three kids and two adults in a line, walking down the streets of UB, all dressed in North Face. I thought it was hilarious and funny, and I think I wasn’t the only one - we got quite a few looks.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Martina,
    So glad to read your most recent account of your trip to see the kids in Mongolia. What a ride it has been for you, for the kids and for all of us who are able to watch from afar and share the thrill of their emergence into adulthood under your watchful eye.