495Re: Calling M-16 volunteers to Mongolia
- Apr 15, 2005From the literature I got:
'acquistion of life skills by disenfranchised youth through the explicit teaching of
decision-making, self-esteem, emotional and stress management, and effective
could be a lot of different things. :-)
--- In Mongolia_2003@yahoogroups.com, "unlisted" <unlisted@s...> wrote:
> I was just guessing, but was wrong. I got some info in the mail and also
> talked to the office yesterday and staging will be in Los Angeles.
> Youth Development? What does that entail?
> From: Mongolia_2003@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Mongolia_2003@yahoogroups.com]
> On Behalf Of the_sun_at_cal
> Sent: Friday, April 15, 2005 11:59 AM
> To: Mongolia_2003@yahoogroups.com
> Subject: [Mongolia_2003] Re: Calling M-16 volunteers to Mongolia
> Are just guessing about staging being in SF, or do you have some knowledge
> about it? Just
> curious. SF would be SO convenient for me!
> --- In Mongolia_2003@yahoogroups.com, "russianplane" <unlisted@s...> wrote:
> > Hi Jenny,
> > I'm an M-16, too. I'm out in San Francisco, so it seems likely that
> > I'll be welcoming you all into my fair city for Staging. I was just
> > writing my recruiter when your message came in. (I'm subscribed so
> > they come to my email.) I was asking for contact info for another
> > volunteer in San Francisco who is an M-16, too, to see what her plans
> > and packing list were looking like. If I do get her info, I'll see if
> > she'll post here her ideas.
> > I've gone through all the posts on this site and there were a few good
> > messages about packing -- what to bring and not what to bring. I've
> > pasted one of the best below my sig.
> > For preparation, I've got a big list going -- mostly clothes that I
> > think will stand up to a good beating and still keep me warm. I'm
> > planning on bringing an old laptop to use for music, etc, which I can
> > then donate when I leave. I'm a music junkie and couldn't live
> > without my music. It seems like we'll have electricity, as teachers
> > in a fairly good-sized town. I'm assuming a lot there, based on the
> > fact that we'll be teaching at High Schools or what-have-you.
> > I'm trying to keep it simple and light, but I'm a minimalist in
> > general. When I go hiking (3-5 days), my pack weighs in at about
> > 20-25lbs, even snow camping. That said, it seems everyone overpacks
> > and I'm sure I'll be wishing I'd left a ton of stuff at home. Jaime
> > (below) suggests that you can get a lot of local stuff at good prices
> > or ship stuff from home for use later. In my mind, I'd rather bring
> > two large bags with me with all my stuff, rather than trust everything
> > I want to bring to some foreign (or domestic for that matter) customs
> > officer.
> > A friend of mine was Peace Corps Nepal and she's been following my
> > preparations and has given me tons of good advice. She nixed the
> > solar battery charger immediately, which some others on this message
> > board recommended against, as well. I figure its gonna be a bit like
> > living at home and a bit like camping, with more emphasis on the
> > 'living at home' bit. Bring what you want, but bring only a few items
> > of quality.
> > I'd be interested in hearing about your teaching experience and if you
> > have any ideas or plans for adapting your teaching to Mongolia.
> > -Sean
> > From: "jaimeforsyth" <jaimeforsyth@y...>
> > Date: Thu Apr 17, 2003 5:01 am
> > Subject: Just bring what makes you happy!
> > ADVERTISEMENT
> > Sain bain uu, Soon to be Peace Corps Volunteers,
> > I'm an M13 here in Mongolia (i.e., from the 2002 PCV group) and have
> > enjoyed reliving all the packing uncertainties I went through last
> > year as I read through some of your emails. The best advice I got
> > from a current volunteer, "Just bring what makes you happy."
> > Other than that, the best advice I can contribute is: Don't spend a
> > lot of money beforehand. It's more fun, less stressful, and much
> > much much cheaper to buy things here (or have them custom-made) then
> > it is to schlep everything here only to find out that you could have
> > gotten something suitable here for a fraction of the price. Also, if
> > you spent alot of cash on something in the States, you'll probably
> > feel obligated to get it back to the US, too, and mailing from here
> > is horribly expensive and carrying additional stuff is no fun either.
> > With that said, I'll try to save you a few dollars and a few pounds
> > of luggage:
> > 1. Vitamins: Once you're sworn in, the PC will provide Centrivite
> > multi-vitamins, Calcium supplements, Vitamin C/E/B6 and Iron
> > supplements (and any other prescription drugs). Just bring enough of
> > those for the summer.
> > 2. Sunscreen/bug juice/moisture lotion: I think we got all of this
> > in our med kits (when you first arrive)...Lubriderm moisture lotion,
> > DEET bug lotion (you might want to bring your own), and a thick,
> > greasy SPF 28 sunscreen (definitely bring your own). Caveat: This is
> > from last year; things can always change.
> > 3. School supplies: You can get notebooks, folders, pens, glue, post-
> > its, markers, paper clips, all that kind of stuff in UB, if not in
> > smaller aimags. The only thing that I haven't seen is good quality
> > chalk, blackboard erasers, stapler, scissors. Also, the markers
> > aren't the best quality. Still, who wants to haul all that stuff
> > around? Bring what you can't live without and have a care package
> > sent later if you really can't find it here. There are a few
> > stationery/office supply stores in UB.
> > 4. Seeds: ADRA (an NGO) provides free seeds (mostly vegies, not sure
> > about herbs) and is conveniently located next to the PC office in
> > UB. We just had a big distribution to all the PCVs that wanted them.
> > 5. Wool tights: The women wear wool-like tights under skirts that
> > can be picked up in any market for < $1.40. You can also get other
> > (nicer) options for a little more money.
> > 6. Pillow: If you're at all particular about what you sleep on,
> > bring a pillow. Options here range from flat-as-a-pancake to the
> > Rock of Gibraltar. I bought a travel pillow case and stuffed my down
> > jacket in it for the summer, and that was fine, but was glad to have
> > a 'real' pillow waiting for me in my 'winter' box in UB.
> > 7. Summer (i.e., smaller) sleeping bag: unless you're planning on
> > taking some backpacking trips, you might not want to bother; it's
> > just one more thing to carry back and forth from the States, and one
> > more expense. You can get fleece, cotton, or silk sleeping bag
> > liners made for you here for a fraction of the cost. I haven't seen
> > them, but I know they make sleeping bags here for really cheap and
> > you could buy that or a quilt if you need extra warmth in winter.
> > Recurring theme: You can get almost anything made here for cheap!
> > One PCV just asked if I knew anyone who wanted to buy the sleeping
> > bag that she had brought with her, as she was already worried about
> > the hassle of bringing it back next year.
> > 8. Coats/winter boots/accessories: You can get everything you need
> > here; these people are the experts. Most of the PCVs have had local
> > seamstresses whip together various types of coats or jackets for
> > them, and there are plenty of hats, gloves, and scarves here.
> > Typical examples (these are the low end typical)...Women's long, down
> > coat: $14; Custom-made long, wool coat: $18-$27, fleece jacket with
> > Mongolian designs: $14. (Even if a zipper breaks or seam gives out,
> > you can have it repaired on the spot at a repair shop or by a local
> > seamstress for about a buck.) Traditional Mongolian boots can be
> > bought or custom-made for around $30-35, I think. One thing that I
> > brought which worked better than a scarf at minus 40 was a neck
> > gaiter (aka, neck warmer). As it's just some fleece stitched into a
> > tube, which I'm sure can be made here, but you can probably pick one
> > up cheap at this time of year...or make it yourself. If you have
> > favorite gloves or mittens, I'd probably bring those, but you will
> > certainly have alot to choose from here. (Note on the boots: If you
> > know you have a problem with cold feet and want to take your chances
> > with the high tech boots you can get in America, check out Baffin
> > boots, www.baffin.com . After I was erroneously told that I wouldn't
> > be able to get wos. size 9 shoes here, I bought a pair of Baffin
> > Acadia boots online rated to -94 F (I wanna know who had to test
> > them!), and they're relatively lightweight and were toasty at minus
> > 45; and my feet get cold really easily.)
> > 9. Great things to bring to your training site: Frisbee, hacky
> > sack, deck of cards (Uno is good, too). You will make instant
> > friends of every kid in the area when you bring out the Frisbee.
> > 10. Watch batteries: They have watch repair shops all over the
> > place, at least in UB. Because they usually last around 2 years, I
> > just saved myself the hassle by replacing my battery right before I
> > left.
> > 11. Duct tape: So far, you can't buy it here, and it's infinitely
> > useful.
> > 12. Photo album: Your host family and every other Mongolian you meet
> > will love to see the pictures of your family and friends. They're
> > more interested in people than scenery.
> > 13. If you bring a sports magazine (with pictures of NBA players)
> > and a teen magazine (with pictures of the latest pop princess...last
> > year it was Britney Spears) you will make a teenager or ten very
> > happy. (note: basketball is very popular here and most towns will
> > have at least one basketball standard for the boys to play. Even
> > poor people also often have satellite dishes, and are familiar with
> > some NBA players. One little boy asked me if I knew Allen Iverson.)
> > 14. Wire hangers: Easy to pack, and almost everyone's home in the
> > US seems to have a bunch from the dry cleaner. Handy to have,
> > especially since they bend into lots of different shapes for lots of
> > different uses. Even furnished apartments don't seem to have many
> > hangers to speak of, and in a ger, it's easy to bend them to hang
> > anywhere. You can buy plastic hangers here if you need to.
> > 15. Tupperware: Pack anything that needs protecting into tupperware
> > containers. They're great to have afterwards for storage, especially
> > since the cheap Chinese ones here aren't leakproof.
> > 16. Toiletries/make-up: You can get everything you need here
> > including American toothpaste and toothbrushes, and I'm starting to
> > see floss occasionally. For women: they have all your cosmetic
> > needs...all of them. They even have Revlon, Estee Lauder, and
> > Clinique products if you don't want to try the Swedish or Korean
> > brands. Tampax tampons are available, but they're more expensive
> > here.
> > 17. Dried fruit: I've seen raisins, apricots, and plums pretty
> > regularly.
> > 18. Food: I saw someone had a list of everything s/he would bring.
> > Everything on the list can be found in UB ...maybe not every time you
> > check, but on a sort of regular basis. There are times when we're
> > out of Skippy/Jif peanut butter or macaroni and cheese or whatever;
> > but you just learn to grab things when you see them, even if you
> > don't need them at the moment. UB has a good selection of fresh
> > fruits and vegetables all year round; it's more hit or miss in other
> > places.
> > 19. Plastic egg container: Only 1 volunteer seems to have found one
> > of these in Mongolia, but since you get eggs piled in a plastic bag,
> > it's a very handy thing to bring (from a camping store).
> > 20. Plastic insulated mug and spoon: It was a hassle to find a
> > spoon when you just wanted to have some noodles in your room, or to
> > stir the ubiquitous "Coffee King". Having an insulated mug that was
> > bigger than 6 oz. and had a handle in which your fingers actually
> > fit, would be a nice thing, though not a necessity.
> > 21. 1 liter, wide-mouth Nalgene bottle: It must be the unwritten
> > rule, because I think every single PCV has one. Besides the obvious,
> > they're also handy to use as measuring cups. I brought 2 for some
> > reason, but really only needed one.
> > 22. Solar battery re-charger: I have a brand-new, never been opened
> > one that no one here seems to want to buy from me. One of the
> > problems is where to put it where it can get 12 hours of sunlight
> > (not that you have nearly that much in the winter) while you are
> > away. If you have a ger, you don't have any windows either. The
> > perception of one person who used one was that the batteries were
> > never fully charged. You can buy an electric battery charger here
> > that will charge 4 AA batteries in about 4 hours, and you can
> > probably get that much electricity in one day even in the smallest
> > soum (town); that is, unless the power's completely out, which it can
> > be for a period of days every now and again. You can supplement by
> > bringing a family-size box of batteries that you can draw on when you
> > need to. You can buy Western quality batteries here for the regular
> > retail price, i.e., not as cheap as from a US shopping warehouse.
> > The Chinese ones available everywhere are terrible.
> > 23. Laptops are great because it can be your journal, stereo, video
> > game, and DVD player depending on what type you have. You can store
> > all your CDs on it, and bring small battery operated speakers, or buy
> > some here if you will have electricity in your site. Buy a padded,
> > snug-fitting, zippered pouch to store it in; and ALWAYS keep it
> > zipped up to protect it from all the dust here. I talked to someone
> > living in a ger and he never had a problem due to the cold; he used
> > coal during the coldest parts of the winter, which retains its heat
> > much longer than wood. You can also buy small gel packs that can be
> > heated and put in with the laptop (in the laptop's insulated bag) at
> > night if you think it will be a problem. (I haven't had to test this
> > theory) As far as theft: I brought a laptop lock which I've never
> > used, but it's good to be concerned about theft. Some of the
> > volunteers who have been victims of theft from their ger, never had a
> > problem with their laptop, because in a small soum, you cannot
> > possibly show up anywhere with a laptop without it being obvious that
> > you took it from the volunteer. Most thefts were children stealing
> > money or anything that looked cool and was small enough to hide. And
> > if you don't live in a ger, you will probably have a good enough lock
> > on your door that anything inside is safe. Yes, you have to be
> > willing to accept risk if you bring it, but there are alot of long,
> > winter nights to consider and I haven't yet heard of anyone who was
> > sorry they brought it. Also, the PC has a technology initiative, so
> > you could also use your laptop as a teaching tool and introduce your
> > local Mongolian friends to the possibilities. While most are too
> > poor to own one themselves, more and more are available in schools,
> > internet cafes, or gov't sponsored student computer rooms. The PC is
> > offering a computer workshop in a couple weeks for PCVs and one each
> > of their community members who are interested in learning how to
> > train other people on computer skills.
> > 24. Heavy-duty ziploc bags are great for all sorts of things. For
> > example, rice and sugar come in cheap, plastic bags that are easily
> > broken.
> > 25. Books/magazines: Pack everything you could possibly want, or be
> > willing to donate to the PC library, into boxes and ship to yourself
> > at the PC office in UB via the "M bag". This is the slow boat to
> > Mongolia, anywhere from 2-6 months but it's only $1/lb. It's only
> > for printed material.
> > 26. Musical instruments: Half a dozen of our group brought guitars
> > or fiddles and I haven't heard any complaints and they were great to
> > have around. If you have an expensive instrument, I'd keep it at
> > home and find something cheaper to bring with you.
> > 27. Dispelling rumors....No, you will not have to forage for wood,
> > nor is it likely that you will have to chop it if you don't want to.
> > Wood is so scarce in most of your communities that you will probably
> > have coal at least in the winter, or maybe some will use dung at some
> > point (really, it smells more like the vegetation it used to be than
> > anything nasty). The few forests are being depleted so rapidly that
> > it's illegal to cut the wood in most cases, though that law is
> > thoroughly ignored; still, it's not a good precedent to set for the
> > PC to have the volunteers illegally taking wood if you happen to live
> > by one of the increasingly rare forests. The PC has arranged with
> > all sites to have fuel and water supplied. In reality, some people
> > get their water brought to them and some get it from the local well.
> > (One volunteer joked that the only foraging he had to do was the
> > verbal foraging to try to talk his director into having fuel
> > delivered in a timely manner.)
> > 28. If you need something desperately and don't have anyone to ship
> > it to you; REI, LL Bean, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble will ship
> > here. Amazon, for one, is great if your package doesn't arrive in a
> > timely manner; they'll re-ship it for free.
> > 29. Things I saw in emails or on lists that you don't need to bring:
> > lighters (readily available because cigarettes are so cheap); hammock
> > (unless you have other ideas besides stringing it between 2 non-
> > existent trees); slippers (e.g., you can buy toasty wool felt ones
> > here); extra bandannas (they have the same made-in-China ones here
> > that we get in the US).
> > 30. Most volunteers suggest that you bring socks and underwear,
> > including a pair of good, silk long underwear from home; as the
> > quality is not as good here for those kind of things or in the case
> > of silk (or other high-tech fabric) long underwear, I haven't seen it
> > here. Quick-drying hiking socks from EMS, REI, or any good outdoor
> > store will be a good investment.
> > 31. If you have a favorite hat with a big brim, bring it. The
> > temperature got up to 110 degrees F one day last summer and the heat
> > wave seemed to last for a really long month. Having a wet bandanna
> > around your neck when it's that hot is also helpful.
> > 32. No, there are no McDonald's here, but there is a little store
> > that has a pretty accurate fake "7-11" sign. There was a fake
> > McDonald's called "MonDonald's" (i.e., "MONgolian mcDONALD'S), but
> > McDonald's attorneys got in touch and made them change it
> > to "RonDonald's". Mongolians have never heard of McDonald's, so it
> > was pretty much a waste of time.
> > 33. SARS: Mongolia is being amazingly proactive in preventing the
> > spread of the virus. New or possible cases are reported every day (I
> > think we only have a couple confirmed), most of the population is
> > wearing face masks (a very odd sight on the streets), the biggest
> > open-air market in the country is closed indefinitely, public events
> > are cancelled, all the bars and discos are closing at 10 (can't quite
> > figure that one out), and all the buildings have their door handles
> > wrapped with gauze soaked in some disinfectant, i.e., they're wet. I
> > can't imagine that it would be able to spread to the point that we
> > would get evacuated. (Cross your fingers)
> > 34. Thermarest self-inflating air mattress: It's likely that you
> > will have plenty of chances to sleep on floors, and if you mind, this
> > is really comfortable to have and packs up pretty compactly. You can
> > also buy the 'chair' accessory, made out of nylon, that will turn
> > your mattress into a comfy floor chair, which is easily portable for
> > travel. Even though I live in an apartment, this is my most
> > comfortable chair (sad to say). The mattress is also my guest bed as
> > most of us(all of us?)don't have an extra bed or maybe even an extra
> > couch for guests.
> > 35. It's hard or impossible to find good quality cotton t-shirts;
> > bring them from home if you like to wear them.
> > 36. Splurge on some good quality sunglasses with all the appropriate
> > UV protection; there's alot of sun here!
> > 37. If you get the same amount of paperwork that we did, it would be
> > handy to bring a lightweight, durable folder with dividers to keep it
> > all straight. You might be able to find something you like in UB,
> > but you won't get there for shopping for some weeks after you arrive.
> > 38. Hiking boots: You don't need really heavyweight boots, as
> > you're mostly walking around on bare ground (or very uneven
> > sidewalks),i.e., it's not particularly rugged, just a bit uneven,
> > dirty, and often littered with broken glass. There are plenty of
> > shoe repair shops if you wear something out or something breaks, as
> > people can't easily afford to buy new things. In the winter, you'll
> > be switching to insulated boots anyway. They also sell all sorts of
> > variations of lighter weight hiking shoes/boots here (both cheap
> > Chinese and Western quality).
> > 39. Teva (or Teva-like) walking sandals: Best investment I made.
> > Good for walking on rugged surfaces, wading across streams, hiking
> > small mountains, and using sketchy-looking bath houses. And they're
> > very lightweight.
> > In general, pack for the summer as if you are going on an extended
> > camping trip; i.e., pack light. Also, bring an extra duffle bag to
> > carry all the extra stuff the PC will hand out during the summer:
> > filters, books and folders mostly, and anything else you accumulate
> > over the summer. Everything that you don't need for the summer can
> > be sent directly to the PC in Ulaanbaatar, clearly labelled "Winter
> > gear - leave in UB" or something like that, so you don't have to deal
> > with it until you leave for your permanent site.
> > I've rambled. Hope some of this was useful to you and will look
> > forward to eventually meeting all of you this summer.
> > Bayartai!
> > Jaime
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