JULY 24, 2016
As the staff had already left for the campsite, we were welcomed to Mongolia by the chapter in Ulaanbaatar. We had a lovely dinner and had an opportunity to meet the local CISV'ers and each other. After dinner we all left for our host families to prepare for the trip to Dadal the next day.
Meanwhile our lovely staff was working hard to prepare for our arrival at the campsite.
JULY 25, 2016
This was the day that we officially started the IPP, traveling to Dadal. We met up at 8 am at the East Bus Station at Ulaanbaatar. Despite being a little late, we managed to split into two groups and went on two separate vans. The journey was amazing—filled with all types of (e)motions and mini adventures. The drive overall took thirteen hours, although we did stop for some lunch and toilet breaks along the way.
The road to Dadal was an extremely eventful one, to say the very least. We saw lots of animals along the way. We stopped in a town where naadan was being played. Although the car ride was very bumpy, a lot of people managed to catch some sleep along the way. We crossed a couple of rivers—one big enough that we had to get out of the car to walk off, and a bunch of other smaller ones.
By mistake, one of the vans crossed a very scary wooden bridge. Us, and well as our vans, crossed a river via hand-pulled/ raft. Finally, just before dark, we arrived to Dadal, and were welcomed by our wonderful staff, who in traditional Mongolian clothes, performed a traditional dance. Our first dinner came as a very pleasant surprise, a real five-star meal.
JULY 26, 2016
We woke up to an amazing breakfast and realized food was not going to be an issue at this IPP. We had a full day of orientation planned by the staff. during which we started to get to know each other, discussed the schedule and calendar and talked about expectations, contributions and concerns. We also had the chance to talk about the theme of our IPP and work on an initial plan. We realized that one of the first things we had to do was to strengthen the group. Hence during the evening we played fun games to lighten the mood and start to get to know each other.
JULY 27, 2016
On our second day of orientation, we started with a discussion about group formation. We also talked about risk management and shared our experiences on what surprised us most about Mongolia. We then went through the evaluation forms.
Since we were to have dinner with the locals in the evening, our Mongolians prepped us on Mongolian manners and things which are or aren't appropriate when interacting with locals. We also learned (or at least attempted to) simple Mongolian phrases. Things ended up going very well-- we had dinner, then danced the night away with the locals.
JULY 28, 2016
In the morning we visited the local museum. There our guide explained about the Dadal history and the local heroes. We also learned more about the local typical garment and Chinggis Khan. After we returned to the campsite we reflected on the dinner with the locals the previous night. We shared our experiences and concerns on the next step of the hands on project.
After lunch we played jeopardy with Maddie from the USA and made yuru-chara (typical mascots characters) with the Japanese. Yusuke and Aya also showed us the different types of trees and forest management in Japan.
We took a break from the activities to visit a diary farm. We had the opportunity to milk some cows, see the way they build log cabins in Dadal area.
Later we had a delicious dinner and finish the activities discovering the Netherlands thanks to a fun quiz that Elsbeth prepared for us
JULY 29, 2016
Italian theme-based activity in the morning by Luca and Chiara. We split into groups to talk about introduction of entrance fee in Venice. We were given 15 minutes in our small groups to decide if we wanted to pay an entrance fee or how much to impose. Then we had the Mongolian theme-based activity. Orgil, Nyamka and Sissy prepared a questionnaire about Mongolia and its culture. We stood in line and were given changes to answer questions. Last activity in the morning, the theme-based activity of Thailand by Pear. We decided on the best way to save mangroves as the NGO while keeping peace with the locals and appeasing the government.
After lunch we had the opportunity of riding a horse at campsite. In the Brazilian theme-based activity, Carol, Danilo and Diego explained about forest and frees in Brazil then we split into 4 groups to come up with projects to work on issues. As the last activity, Pavit and Isha from India had a PowerPoint of funny facts in India, and discussed how to stop forest fires.
At the end of the day we had the planning for cultural sharing.
JULY 30, 2016
What busy and exciting day! Today we went to explore the surroundings of Dadal. In the morning we visited the house-museum of a local veteran and hunter and learned about some of the local fauna. In the afternoon we went to see several places related to the life of Chinggis Khan, who was born and grew up in this region of Mongolia, and learned a lot about the history and culture of this amazing country and region. In between, we had a marvelous barbecue by the river. We learned about the traditional way of BBQing with hot stones and we went swimming and relaxing in the river!
Back to campsite, no time to rest. We went to the cultural sharing event organized by the locals. We were gifted with an amazing performance of dancing, singing and playing by kids of the local school and we tried our best to repay with our local dances, songs and traditions. The entire evening was a great success and a whole deal of fun for everybody.
We went back to the campsite and went to sleep very tired, yet very happy for the marvelous day we had!
JULY 31, 2016
We started our hands on activity by spending the morning in the forest collecting fallen wood. After a few hours of strenuous productivity, we had enough large piles of wood to start projects, which were subsequently decided upon with the locals. They asked for new school benches, a gazebo for the sustainability friendship group and wood for souvenirs. So we split ourselves into three groups based on our skills and interests and got to work.
The souvenir group spent the day using wood to create different items as well as learning a lot about the trade in carving and wood crafts. The bench group spent the day cutting and cleaning about 50-100 wooden logs in preparation for building benches the next day. Finally, the gazebo group also spent the day cutting and cleaning wooden logs needed for their structure.
After dinner we enjoyed a local wood craftsman’s demonstration of craving and sculpting figures out of fallen branches. It was really interesting and his work was a beautiful representation of women. We spent the evening reflecting on the day and proposing solutions for problems.
JULY 31, 2016
We spent the morning in discussion and completing our mid-evaluation. Afterwards we enjoyed a free morning, in which the gazebo group finalized their design with the locals. In the afternoon, instead of a break, we got to work right away.
The souvenir group— Midori, Orgil, Aya, Pear, and Dalai— spent the day creating boxes from birch wood and carving tree mushrooms.
The bench group— Naraa, Elsbeth, Maddie, Diego and Yusuke— spent the day continuing to clean and cut wood as well as begin work on the benches themselves. We took out the old wooden poles and dug new holes for the new wooden poles as well as laid the wood for the seats and back rests.
The gazebo group— Isha, Pavit, Luca, Sissy, Nyamka, Kiara, Danilo, Carol, Uka, and Yuriboh— spent the day building the foundation for the gazebo and continued with cleaning and cutting the wood to the appropriate size for their hexagon design.
After dinner, we again discussed how the projects were progressing and Dami gave his opinion on behalf of the other local people and himself. Overall, it was a very successful day.
AUGUST 2, 2016
Today we started with an amazing breakfast made by Bagi, then the groups went to do their job.
The souvenir team had an amazing idea to craft some CISV signs and some sign for the friendship group and for the school. So they could remember our time there.
The school bench group finished the benches from the front side of the school and kitchen area. During the afternoon Bairaa asked for some help to pick up and bring stones from the river bank to
fix the tractor parking area close to the water system . Yusuke and Diego volunteered to help and as a gift they had a refreshing river swim. The days are getting hotter ...and hotter and these river swim was very envied.
The gazebo group managed build up the main structure and started the roof!!! We had some drama with a small incident involving one of the carpenter's tool. But
they managed to fix it and continued the work.
After dinner we head to a party sponsored by a local politician who won the general elections as a representative for the region. We were early and managed to see all the people arriving. We felt the whole city was there to enjoy the famous singer, the comedian show and the DJ. And, of course, the big bonfire. We had an amazing time singing, dancing and interacting with the locals.
AUGUST 3, 2016
It was the last full day of working on the projects.
The souvenir group continued on carving tree mushrooms and making key chains. They kept working throughout the day without coming back to the campsite for lunch, and had a chance to go to river at the end of the day.
Since the bench group was done building all the benches, we went to weed the garden of the former school principal in the morning. We had an opportunity to go to river after hard work. In the afternoon, we worked on presentation and camp video for the project presentation next day.
The gazebo group spent the day building tables and ceiling, and finished constructing the gazebo one day ahead the schedule. We designed two tables two entrances
and the serving corridor between tables.
We had dinner all together and nice chill evening.
AUGUST 4, 2016
Some of us tried to finish the project and others prepared a CISV workshop for the local teachers and the final presentation of our IPP. Many of us worked to carve the wooden plate for the beautiful gazebo.
We enjoyed the pleasant river. We also tried to finish carving the plate. Working by the river is what we are good at ;-)(yes?! Team souvenir!!) Thanks to Bayaraa San and lots of help from very many people, more than half the work was done!
We had our last dinner with the locals with a delicious BBQ and sweet fruits. Yam yam. The local staff and all us participants received a memorable gift from CISV Mongolia. We moved to the cultural center after the group photo. We introduced ourselves to locals, showed the final presentation and danced together.
We came back home and all enjoyed the evening in Dadal.
AUGUST 5, 2016
It was the last day in Dadal.
We spent the morning packing, cleaning up our rooms and campsite, and finishing the engraving of the signs for the gazebo and souvenirs.
In the afternoon, we had some time for writing booklets to everyone after siesta, then had the evaluation with everyone, including the self assessment and rating homestay, transportation, campsite, food, shower and everything else. Afterwords we had free time to finish packing, writing booklets or taking a little nap....
After a wonderful last dinner in Dadal, we had candles and a bonfire to share our feelings and experiences with everyone, and enjoyed the last night with a beautiful night sky and some activities.
AUGUST 6, 2016
It was the day of our departure. The microbuses arrived after breakfast. We started our journey back to Ulaanbaatar after packing our bedsheets and suitcases and stuffing them into the buses. The lovely locals were waiting at the main entrance to Dadal soum, where there is a large gate with two statues of warriors on horseback on its sides. They were dressed up in their traditional clothes to pay respect to us and bid farewell. They gave each of us sentimental gifts to take away. A lot of people including us and the locals got emotional at the thought of not seeing each other again and couldn’t hold back our tears. Until we continued our journey, there were hugs and kisses, emotional speeches and picture taking everywhere.
Thanks to the little bit of rain from the night before, the roads were perfect with no dust and not too wet. We stopped a few times on the way and managed to see the parts of the opening of Rio2016 Olympics on TV at one of the restaurants. During one of the stops, some of us went to a museum on Mongolian Queens. The drive in total was longer than the one we had on the way to Dadal. Most of us were sleeping on the bus. Some of us were slightly sick from heat strokes and stomach-aches so the long journey was a bit difficult for them. Nevertheless, we arrived in UB at around midnight, a little tired but everyone well. We then went to our separate host families and homes to rest for the next day ahead.
AUGUST 7, 2016
On the last day of IPP, we had a whole day to enjoy Ulaanbaatar. We met in front of the state department store and headed to the Gandantegchinlen Monastery, a Tibetan-style Buddhist monastery. We experienced spinning the mani stones (tibetan prayer wheels), Buddhist sutra from monks, and Gandantegchinlen monastery with 26.5-meter-high statue of Avalokiteśvara. Then, we visited the museum of dinosaur.s Although we were taught that a lot of fossils from Gobi desert are in foreign countries, there were many fossils and full sized dinosaurs in and outside of the museum.
Around 1 pm, we had lunch along with Mongolian traditional music and dance. After having lunch, we did some souvenir shopping. The area had many types of souvenirs, from the goods of cashmere to hand sized gers with tiny furniture! Our next destination was the Chinggis Square and we took lots of photos there. Then, we visited the National Museum of Mongolia. We really enjoyed the history of the country, the story about Chinggis Khan and also modern history. Lots of traditional costumes were displayed and there was a real ger as well. It was interesting to find the wood skin's boxes which were similar to the boxes we made in Dadal! We did some last shopping at the state department store. We met finally even though there was a long cue at the register and left to the restaurant for dinner.
At the Gandan view restaurant, we had a dinner with Yura, Yura’s wife and all host families. During dinner, we watched the great video about the IPP-2016 in Mongolia which was edited by Maddie. Everyone watched it carefully and missed all old memories in Dadal dearly. At the end of dinner, Naraa gave us message booklets! The next part was a night out! Since it was just around 8 pm, some of us went back home and we met again in front of the state department store at 10pm, Mongolian time, or CISV time..
First we went to a club, FACE, however, since some of us preferred having a last chat together, we decided to go to the pub, Ikh Mongol pub. We enjoyed good friends and a good pint of beer! Then we stayed there until midnight.