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Adding modern technology to a Ger

Adding modern technology to a Ger

Livestock near nomad's home.

Livestock near nomad's home.

So the nomads live in these round Ger’s.  Essentially living off of the land and their livestock.  But Mongolians do have access to technology.

One would see solar panels attached to the Ger’s or freestanding on poles.  The Solar Panels would send the energy into a car battery.  Then the car battery would be used to

  1. Charge up their cell phones.  Cell phones are used in a manner where you buy units.  It cost less to send a text than to call someone for a minute of cell phone time.
  2. Connect the battery to a modern florescence light bulb for at night use.
  3. Or maybe watch a little TV, which is hooked up to a satelite dish.

I bet you the carbon footprint for Mongolian’s is very minimal.  Al Gore would be proud!


Judy's photo in the November ~ December issue of AARP!

Photograph of Judy, representing the Response section of the Peace Corps in Mongolia!

Judy Gates, RPCV 2008-2012 Mongolia
Peace Corps Business Volunteer

Check out her blog, for when she was in Mongolia at:

Hubby received a gift from our daughter for him to pick out a person to give a micro loan to. He picked Ariunzaya in Darkhan, Mongolia.

Mrs. Ariunzaya is 32 years old and she lives with her husband and 2 children in Darkhan, the second largest city of Mongolia. They live in their own flat in the center of Darkhan.

Mrs. Ariunzaya is a teacher of Mathematics in the local secondary school. Her son attends a secondary school and her daughter goes to the local kindergarten. Her husband runs a taxi business, using his family car, carrying passengers between Darkhan and the capital city, which is 220 kilometers away. On average, he makes one trip per day to the capital city, occasionally two. Mrs. Ariunzaya’s father is a former taxi driver and he is unemployed at the moment. Mrs. Ariunzaya wants to buy an another car to use for the taxi business as well. Her father will act as a taxi driver to earn some extra income for the family. Mrs. Ariunzaya is going to use her family’s savings, but needs some money on top of it to buy a car with lower mileage.

The loan that Mrs. Ariunzaya is taking will be used to buy the second hand car and to use it for taxi business employing her father and to increase her family’s income.

Amber had given me a $25 gift certificate for a Kiva loan, for Mother’s Day.  I selected a loan from someone in Mongolia, and actually one of the areas that we visited during my visit to Amber, over 2 years ago.  I’m interested to see how this works out!  Here is the specific link to Buyanravjih.

Uvurhangai, Mongolia Food | Grocery Store

Kiva Loan in Mongolia

Buyanravjih Uvurhangai, Mongolia Food | Grocery Store

This loan has been fully funded!

A loan of $2,850 helped Buyanravjih to purchase more grocery products.
0% repaid

Repayment Term:
26 months (more info)
Repayment Schedule:
May 25, 2011
Jun 4, 2011
Currency Exchange Loss:
Buyanravjih is a 63-year-old widow who lives in a rented house in the province of Uvurhangai in Mongolia. All of her children have grown up and live separately. In 2000, Buyanravjih started a grocery trading business at a rented stall in the Zanabazar trading center and has gained much experience, managing to build a strong customer base and expand her operation. She has also developed long-term and transparent relationships with her partners and suppliers.

A hardworking and honest woman who is planning to continue her business in the future, Buyanravjih says, “I want to build savings with the earnings I make.” She is now requesting a 3,500,000 MNT loan to purchase more grocery products to increase her business sales.

About XacBank
This loan is being administered through XacBank, a Mongolian for-profit microfinance institution. XacBank is located in every province of Mongolia, reaching some of the most rural micro business clients. With this Kiva loan, there is an opportunity for the entrepreneur to get a savings account including 9% of the interest if they pay back the loan on time. This is a special savings account that XacBank has specifically prepared for the Kiva loan borrowers to promote savings habits.
About the Country

Avg Annual Income:
Mongolia Tugriks (MNT)
Exchange Rate:
1,233.0000 MNT = 1 USD

107 lenders to this borrower

New content on Amber’s Kiva happenings.

Amber is coming home for the her sister’s wedding. We had to schedule it, so that when she goes back to the Peace Corps, she’ll not have left the country 90 days prior to her last date. Oh, and we’ll be getting a new family member at that time…….a Mongolian Kitty! Grace is looking forward to that.


Here is a new post that concerns Amber’s Kiva activities.

And here are some interesting facts about the K14 group, that Amber is a part of from the Kiva organization….

❤ Gaileee

Take a look at Amber’s new blog post with her adventure in Mongolia, as a 3rd year Peace Corps Volunteer Leader, and KIVA person!

Amber looks forward to using her two years of experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer to assist me in my Kiva Fellowship. Please follow Amber over the next year as she tries to give you a look into Mongolian borrowers, culture and business practices, among other things.

Amber Barger in an rural area outside of Uvurkhangai Province, Mongolia

Click here for more on Amber’s blog post. (

Wow a month ago in Mongolia, I awoke at 5 am in the morning, at the Ger Camp, just outside where the dinosaurs were found, back in the early 1900’s.    jul09_99_12

It was very windy, the night before and windy early in the morning.  The WC that we had access to, was a low shelter on 3 sides, with two boards on either side of the hole in the ground.  If you didn’t watch it, you’d be blown over to the side, it was that windy.  So this was a low, low squat, in order to stay put!

jul09_99_22 We went on top of this mountainous area, the “Flaming Cliffs”.  Reminded me of Ship Rock in New Mexico, because of the color, and because of the rock structure that was left, after erosin (see that Geology class in college came in handy).  Reminded me of Oklahoma also because of the red soil color.

Amber and I bought some geodes rocks with some lovely crystals inside.  I bought Amber a rose rock, and then a larger geode looking rock.  Kinda cool looking.


Prior to getting to the Yolin Am Glacier area, we stopped along a high area.  Everyone was able to get cell phone reception.  I went outside to find a WC spot (had to make my own….getting very used to this), and I made my own oovm rock site.  Pictured here is the Russian Jeep with everyone in it talking, and me enjoying the fierce winds.  You could lean into them and still be upright.

jul09_99_29 My little rock pile.  Mogi said, she’d add to it with every tourist trip that the brought by, as this was a popular cell phone stop!

jul09_99_30 We ate at a nomad’s home.  She was 60 years old.  Knitted gloves, hatwear, sewed dells…basically during the winter in town made all the things that went into her Tourist Ger right outside the Yolyn Am Glacier Park (in the Gobi Desert, no less).  We ate homemade noodles – watched her make them, with mutton, carrots, potatoes, and onions.  Very yummy.  Drank Milk Tea, yoghurt and a sip of homemade vodka.  Interesting enough, I didn’t get sick on any of the traditional Mongolia dishes.

We went onto the Yolyn Am Glacier, traveled out through the narrow mountains, through the Golden Eagle pass, stayed in a small soum (city) that night


Just a bit of a summary. This is from memory, not notes.
Day One – Arrive in Ulanbaater, Sunday night. Took a taxi, that happened to have a front seat belt. Also picked up Patrick, as he was delayed a day in China, for bad weather for flying. So we were loaded up with my luggage, Patrick’s and Amber and Essaih (along with Patrick and I). So typical of travel here….just load em up!

Day 2. Did the Nat’l History Museum. Very interesting! Also visited the square where the big statue of Khan is located. Did some fabric and fittings for my “Deel”. Also tried to visit the monastery, but we went the back entrance route. Ate dinner at a modern Mongolian restaurant with Amber’s PCV friends. Ate Hosher! Yum! Also visited the talked with various Peace Corps people at the main office in UB. Nice bunch of people!

Day 3. Our Gobi trip. Final fitting for the deel, then onto the Chulluu place. Where there were some ancient writings on the rock walls, and location of an monastery. Lots of off roading experience. Comparable would be the gully roads in the Big Bend National Park in Texas. Stayed in a ger. I woke up at 2am for my biological break (potty), and there was a lovely no fog, no clouds view of the sky. Again, very lovely!

Day 4. Probably the longest travel day. Lots of mirages with the heat wavering off the ground in long distances. Saw some gazelle, camels, horses, and of course the sheep, goats, and some cows. There are no fences. No one really owns property, so to speak in the “country”. As we were coming late into the ger camp, we decide to put off the dinosaur visit, until the next day. We stayed close to a ger camp, and visited the ger camps hot shower (yeah) and toilet. 2,000 tugriks please! (Tourist price). A little boy on the back of his brother’s motorbike came up to me, as Amber was taking yoga photos of me, and sold me some tourist items (camel, gobi rocks….).

Day 5 (day 3 of gobi trip). Visited the flaming cliffs, home to the discovered dinosaur bones and eggs in 1922. Reminded me of Shiprock, NM, as the rock color was similar. The wind was at the highest levels so far. Hard to stand upright.

Then onto Yolin am glacier and park. Ate lunch with a nomad. She made a living by knitting gloves from camel hair, and other yarns, sewing “deels” from her handcranked sewing machine (photos to come), and various other traditional Mongolian arts. She made us a noodle dish with carrots, potatoes and onions, mixed in with mutton. Very good. The milk tea was a bit for me, but I drank as much as I could. Also had the traditional offering of vodka. She made the vodka herself.

Went to the museum associated with the park, saw the various animals associated with the area, including a snow leopard. Plus the dinosaur bones, and did the little fortune game of sheep bones. (I’m suppose to get into an arguement). Bought some items from our lunch host’s ger store. Purchased a booklet about the gobi national park. Some very good maps and photos.

At the park, saw some shaman leaving, as we were entering the hike to visit the glacier. Apparently, they were there to do a “rain dance” and prayer for rain. They had beautiful outfits. Very errie looking.

Visited the glacier, then afterwards, instead of staying the night at the Yolin am site, decided to travel out of the mountain range to stay close to our next location. The travel out of the mountain was quite an experience. Our drive really knew how to navigate the gully and trenches that we encountered!

We stayed at a soum (little city). Our tour guide found us a home to stay at. We had another wonderful dinner! No mobicom (cell phone service) service, so we couldn’t call anyone. Electricity was out in the city until the morning, so it was slumber until the early morning.

Day 6 (day 4 of gobi trip).
Onto the famous gobi desert sands.  The sands are 120 long.  Visited the ger camp for lunch, but took a camel ride prior to eating our “boats”.  Amber’s camel would like to rub its mouth on my pants, as I was holding it’s leather lead.  (ugh!)  We switched the order of the camels, so that I’d be in the back, and the guide would be leading Amber’s camel.  That worked a bit better!  I had the prettiest camel, and only twice did he rear his head backwards to rub one of his humps!  After lunch, we traveled another 120km, and stayed at a true nomad’s home.  Had another excellent mongolian traditional meal.  Arose early to leave for Arvaikheer.

Day 7 (last day of gobi travel) July 4th.
Traveled 200 km to reach Amber’s home town.  Lots of off roading roads.  Ate at one of the soums en route .  Arrived and took showers, made traditional American food (chili, potato salad, deviled eggs and peach cobbler) in Amber’s kitchen.  She has a two burner stove with a small oven.  Plus a chest high refridgerator (which is rare), plus her water purifier, her water boiler, and  various pots and pans.  Other Peace Corps volunteers came by and ate, celebrated July 4th, with a good game of “The Settlers of Catan”.  Apparently a previous PCV left the game.  I brought over the Catan Seafarers and its expansion pack for them to add onto their gaming experience.  Really a good game, and you build roads, settlements and acquire resources and such.  Amber spent her first year living in a ger.

Day 8.  In Avraikheer.  Doing laundry with a machine where you put the water in from the sink, then extract the water, put it into a spinner, once the spinning is done, lay the clothes on a drying rack.  Amber says it takes her 5 hours sometimes to do laundry, and that isn’t counting the final drying time.

Visited the market for some items for Amber, and to see all the goods.  Interesting to see the furniture for the ger’s and the felt, coverings, ropes, belts, inside fabric for the ger and such.  Ate at a russian restaurant.  Had a hot pocket type thing (can’t remember the name), and french fries! (yea!).

We are going to visit the ancient capital at some point and time.


Mongolian Ger Photos on Flickr

G P-B. Mongolia Adventure

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