I was shown the work that I’m supporting
I was shown various project activities and I was told about plans for the future and how they would keep improving those areas. I thought “wow that’s really great” – it gave me a very good overview of what had been achieved.
"I felt that my money had been used effectively and it gave me the security to know that I definitely want to continue with my sponsorship."
I visited the vegetation project and they showed me how the community was able to now plant and grow their own vegetables, which are helping to improve nutrition and livelihoods for families and their children. Right next to this they have their own water irrigation system so they can collect the rainwater. I then saw this big pipe to pump the water into where they’re planting the vegetables.
What I learned about Mongolian culture
I met Davaanyam at the education centre that afternoon and they kindly provided us with a traditional Mongolian lunch. The Mongolian food is quite different. The meat has a strong and acquired taste but was very delicious. Even the milk tea is different to what we have here – it was a little salty. I think the milk was from a yak or horse. I also had the chance to try the national drink called “Airay”.
"I was treated as a guest and I wanted to respect their traditions. Like when you enter a room, you have to enter from the left-hand side. Also, when you sit down in the Ger (the traditional Mongolian hut), normally there’s an altar of the family ancestors so you have to make sure your feet don’t point that direction because it would insult them."
Davaanyam gave me a blue silk scarf and I gave her a hairband with flowers on it – she was so delighted that she took off her old hairband and put it on – it was really touching. I was so happy to see her and glad that she really liked my gift.
Her mum showed me that she really appreciated our visit to see Davaanyam and the rest of the family, even though we couldn’t verbally say it, we could tell through our body language. I myself appreciated her taking the family and coming to meet me as well. I thought that I’d only meet Davaanyam so it was a surprise.
At the end of the day, Davaanyam walked me through the education centre; it was encouraging to see how proud she was to show me around. I’m very grateful to have had such an opportunity to visit – It was a very positive and memorable experience, which I will always cherish.
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