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.