First Week in Mongolia: Justin Shares

I have now been in Mongolia for a week. I have been at the orphanage teaching soccer every morning. The kids are so sweet and happy. Today was the last day that I will be at the orphanage. They sang me a song about how grateful they are that I am here. They are truly amazing kids. I have taught soccer in America and have had kids that complain and whine the whole time. These kids are so appreciative of everything they get and everyone who helps them.

The soccer camp team

Running drills

With a little friend

A couple of days ago after the soccer camp, Margie told the kids to say thank you. They all shouted things in Mongolian and Margie later told me that they said, “God bless you.” I am also amazed with the role that the older orphans take. After they all ate lunch today, one of the older kids who was probably still only like 12 years old cleaned up the tables, washed the dishes, and really looked after the younger kids. She is like a mommy in training! Also today, John dropped off donated art supplies. Immediately they took it out and started using it! Many kids I know would not have shown such great appreciation. One girl even spelled out “I love you” out of stickers on the craft she made.

For a comic interlude, make sure you check out the video of the kids piling out of the van. It is absolutely hilarious. Another one of the funny moments was that there was this one two year old who came twice from the district. Basically, they drive through a neighborhood and ask kids if they want to join the orphans and play soccer. They have to get parental permission and this parent said that the kid could go if he brought his little brother with him. Anyways, the little man did whatever he could to disrupt the camp, just because he wasn’t used to a lot of organization. At one point, I put out like 20 cones for a drill and he picked them all up. Then, I put them back and he ran around and stomped on every single one. We’d chase him and get the cones, then he’d giggle and do it again! Today, he took all of the cones and piled them on his head like they were hats.

Little man with his cone hat!

He started a trend!

A few times we had to chase him down because he tried to escape. Margie said, “Where are you going buddy?” He replied, “I’m going home!” The kids are just so fun and most of all, very polite!

Even more important, they are having a great time and I am having a great time with them. It was kind of sad today saying goodbye and thank you (or in our case bayerlhah in Mongolian) to the little faces we have grown so accustomed to. I have just had an amazing, jaw-dropping experience especially with the driving where it appears there are no rules. They supposedly have a rigorous course to get your license here, but once you get your license, all the rules are gone. They park in the middle of the road which is full of potholes, and they drive wherever they want including lanes with oncoming traffic. You also have to make sure you keep your wallets and things well hidden as Paul learned the hard way. It is just a fascinating country and Ulaanbaatar is pretty cool with the big surrounding mountains in the background. I am looking forward to the countryside tour and I am pretty certain that we changed some lives during our first week in Mongolia. Make sure you read everyone’s posts no matter how long it takes. Your lives may be busy, but believe me, it is nothing like that of a Mongolian’s. Just so everyone knows, the Souds are amazing as well as everyone else on this trip, but I think we can safely say we would not be here if it weren’t for Jonathon and the whole Soud family. Thank you!

-Justin Sandler

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1 Comment

  1. macca1942

     /  July 6, 2012

    Great blog entry, Justin! Mrs. Soud


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