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495Re: Calling M-16 volunteers to Mongolia

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  • the_sun_at_cal
    Apr 15, 2005
      From 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
      communications skills'

      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?
      > -s.
      > _____
      > 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!
      > >
      > > 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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