Return from the Countryside

The 2018 trip to Mongolia is hurriedly coming to a close. We just returned from a 4-day trip to the countryside.  We depart tomorrow evening for Florida!

Saturday was spent at Terelj National Park located east of the capital city (Ulanbataar) after touring the Chinggis Khan statue.  In Terelj, we visited Turtle Rock and a Buddhist temple followed by climbing the hillside behind our ger camp.  The views from atop the mountain were spectacular, serene and offered an opportunity to sit and think about various things in an amazing location.

On Sunday, we made our way to the west of Ulanbataar.  Our first stop was a nomadic culture show.  This was quite possibly my favorite part of the countryside. We had options of taking a short ride on a horse, camel or yak to the ger camps.  Once at the gers, we were taken into various camps to see how they are constructed, how they process animal (yak) milk into various products.  The vodka distilled from yak milk was interesting. And despite what Dr. Sander may tell you, the cheese curds are not so bad!  We were able to see how they make dried meat and felt.  They sang songs for us, took us for a spin on a yak-driven car, and allowed us to play with the lambs.  It was certainly a highlight of this countryside trip.

After the nomadic show, we made our was to Khustain National Park.  Here we sought out the very rare Przewalski horses which we found in two different locations within the park.

Monday, we made our way further west to the location of the capital of Mongolia around the 13th century (under the reign of Ogedei Kahn)…Kharkhorin.  We toured the 2nd of three main Buddhist monasteries which were largely spared destruction by the Soviets during the 1930’s (Ganda being the other one we visited in Ulanbataar). We visited the city (or “sum”) museum.

We made our way back to the capital city today and will spend tomorrow touring the city prior to a late-night departure. Of note, we were very well-fed during our entire stay in Mongolia…I need to go to the gym now!

Brad 6

Brad 7

–Brad

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Brad speaks

I can’t believe that we are almost finished with our week at the hospital. Today was filled once again with teaching pediatric pathologist to an incredibly eager group of people.  I had an opportunity to tour the histology laboratory and discuss with the pathologists their needs for laboratory improvement and advancement.

I want to give a shout out to Dr Rita!  She is an amazing woman who has done great things for the children in Mongolia; she accompanied me to the morning pathology lectures and gets credit for the photo below!

Only one more day…

Update from Brad

brad2

Day 3 is in the books and what a day it has been!  From pathology’s perspective, the previous two days were spent reviewing peripheral blood and bone marrow smears and flow cytometry. Today, I spent a portion of the day teaching the pathologists at the scope by consulting on their current pediatric pathology cases.  The remainder of the day was spent lecturing on neuroblastoma and Wilms tumors.  The pathologists and clinicians are very grateful for our teachings and this makes for an extremely rewarding experience. Only two days remaining and so much to do!

 

2018 Brad

Before Dr. Sandler invited me to participate in this trip to the National Center for Maternal and Child Health in Mongolia, I knew little to nothing about Mongolia, its people and culture and most importantly Jonathan Soud.  Shortly thereafter, I easily found lots of information about this great country, its rich history and amazing people.  Much easier than an internet search on Mongolia was learning about Jonathan and the perpetual mark he left on this world.  Although I have not had the pleasure of meeting him, Jonathan’s story lives in the hearts of not only his family and those who cared for him but in those, like me, who never had the opportunity to meet him.

 

William Oslo once said “The practice of medicine is an art, not a trade; a calling, not a business; a calling in which your heart will be exercised equally with your head.”  I am reminded every day in the ever evolving field of pathology that medicine truly is an art that we spend our lifetime practicing.  We, neither as an individual nor as a group, will never have all the answers or know the entire story.  But I am humbled to have this opportunity to share the latest diagnostic tools, molecular advancements and general pathology knowledge with my colleagues in Mongolia.  I am excited to meet new friends halfway across the globe, develop everlasting relationships and keep alive the mission of Jonathan.

Brad