The Road Less Travelled… Literally
It might be hard to believe, but Peace Corps doesn’t just throw you in a country and expect you to figure it out on your own. Instead, in Mongolia we are split up into groups, sent to “neighboring” villages and spend approximately 11 weeks training.
I have been placed in a town called Yeroo with 8 other TEFL (Teaching Language as a Foreign Language) volunteers. While our soum (village) is not terribly far from Darkhan (our initial training post) by actual distance it is the furthest soum by travel. After roughly 30 minutes on a paved road the rest of our ride is a dirt road over steppe taking about another 2 hours.
Each of us has been placed with a host family for the duration of this pre-service training and as it turns out my host Dad is the driver of my village. Thus, I was probably the only volunteer to meet a member of my host family before we even left Darkhan. And let me tell you, not only did he have a Louis Vuitton CD case and a Gucci steering wheel cover, his dashboard was bedazzled! Mongolia is vast and beautiful and the ride while unusual per American standards was quite beautiful.
My Training group standing above our village
Oh, and did I mention, my host Dad’s cell phone ring tone is Adele? Oh yeah.