The dorm rooms here in Arvikheer, where students live for 9 months out of the year, are pretty nice by Mongolian standards. I only qualify that because if they were compared to the USA or some other country, they might not fare as well.
I recall my first look at a school dorm here. . . It was almost one year ago! When my group of PCV's arrived in Mongolia, it was night time and dark. We then took a very interesting bus ride to a neighboring town where we were to be housed in the school dormitory for our initial orientation period. (It was also my first experience with the pimped out buses here....)
The ride was scary because the roads were bumpy and rutty so the bus went very slowly and there were no lights anywhere. The occasional large dog was seen running along side the road, and there were odd sights, like little police booths where the bus had to stop, and arched entryways on the road with weird writing I couldn't read. It was like being in a foreign land... Oh yea, it was.... not so much anymore!
The dorm building appeared to be very plain and stark. There were no curtains on any windows. This I realized can be quite annoying and disorienting, especially when the sun rose at around 5 a.m. and I was severely jet lagged! The beds were tiny bunks, very hard and not a pillow to be found anywhere. There were many helpful local volunteers there to assist us with carrying all our luggage (100 lbs. of check in baggage, plus carry on....) to our assigned rooms.
The dormitory here in Arvikheer houses 100 students, ranging in age from 6 to 17. They come from neighboring soums and often spend the majority of the school year in this environment. The rooms are pretty nice, with curtains and decent beds, bedding and most even have lockers of sorts. The students take good care of them and many times have posters, bulletin boards and awards hanging on the walls.
My bright idea was to have my friend Andrew take photos of me with each group of students in their dorm room. Then I was going to surprise them with a copy of the photo at a party I am planning to celebrate the end of the school year...this is still the plan...but...
Tune in next week for a recap of the big party...these kids are amazing and deserve the best I can give them!
Much to my chagrin, by the time I got around to arranging this, I discovered that the students in grades 1-5 had already finished school and were going home for the summer, if they had not already left!
So most of the pictures are now with the older kids! And that means they will not be here for the big bash I have planned for Sunday! We are making pizza, watching a slide show, movie and popcorn and many, many games! The students still here are now grades 7-11 so that changes the original idea, but it will all work out in the end.