Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Two Grandmothers, Two Gers

Today I visited a ger settlement to explore how people live in these areas and how television and mobile telephony are integrated within everyday life. I will save this discussion for my book. Here I want to tell a bit about the people I met. One of my friend’s arranged for me to meet with two grandmothers who live in two separate gers on the same lot in a settlement about 15 km out of the center of UB. They are both in their 70s and are vibrant and strong. One of them had nine children, and the other had five. They are originally from the Hovd region in Western Mongolia and one moved to UB 4 years ago and the other moved here last year. I first visited the ger of the grandma who had nine children and she presented me with a table of food and fresh hot milk, which she was heating on the stove in her ger. She was quite a character and was bustling around the ger trying to prepare things for me and her sister who was also visiting that afternoon. I ate fresh hot bread that she prepared on her small stove –everything was delicious! After a while I was invited into the ger of the second grandmother, who also presented me with a table full of food, and this time I had hot dumplings as well, cooked on the stove inside her ger. They were delicious! Her granddaughters and a great granddaughter were also there and I enjoyed meeting all of them. In each of the gers, the grandmothers put on their formal national dresses and we took photos. I will put them on my flickr website soon. When I went back into the ger of the first grandmother, she presented me with a large wool rug that she hand-made out of sheep’s wool, camel hair and yak hair. It took her 25 days to make and it is absolutely beautiful. I was so honored and asked her many questions about how she made it. She also proudly showed me the small needle that she made it with. I was almost in tears by the end of my visit because both of the grandmothers were so warm and generous, They reminded me of my own grandmothers who passed away in recent years, and whom I miss very much! Maybe they were watching this scene and winking from above! Before I left, I gave my silver Mexican bracelet to the grandma who made the rug. She had noticed it on my wrist and commented on it when I first arrived. She had a similar one on her wrist made of Mongolian silver that she hasn’t taken off for 20 years.

1 comment:

Naran said...

Dear Lisa,
I've just read your blog and saw my grandma's picture. Oh, how much I miss them? Couldn't help myself, cried for a while...
It feels wonderful to connect with my family through you.
Glad that your trip to Mongolia was productive.
Hope to see you soon. I miss you too.
Take care.

Around the Antenna Tree: The Politics of Infrastructural Visibility

Around the Antenna Tree: The Politics of Infrastructural Visibility
see my Flow column by clicking on the image

New Book

New Book
This book has just been published. An expanded version of my essay "Obscure Objects of Media Studies" is in it

"When Satellites Fall"

"When Satellites Fall"
Click on this photo of orbital debris to read my essay posted on Flow

Goodbye Rabbit Ears: Thoughts about the Digital TV Transition

Goodbye Rabbit Ears: Thoughts about the Digital TV Transition
see my Flow column by clicking on the image

Max Greuter's catalogue

Transmediale Opening - Roaming

Transmediale Opening - Roaming

Participants in CEU Seminar

Naran Satellite Station, Mongolia

Naran Satellite Station, Mongolia
Intersputnik dish

Former herder now a white phone worker

Inside Choijin Lama Temple

Inside Choijin Lama Temple

Naran's Grandma and the rug she made

Naran's Grandma and the rug she made

Satellite Dishes and Solar Panels for Sale at Black Market in Ulaanbatar

Satellite Dishes and Solar Panels for Sale at Black Market in Ulaanbatar

Ponjee and his Nokia phone

walking phone = yavdag utas

Wireless Phone Workers

Wireless Phone Worker

Wireless Phone Worker

Satellite Dish and Tool Seller at Black Market