Our friendships with the local people of Mongolia are genuine friendships – forged over time (no point in rushing!), mainly with tea and sometimes with vodka.
We go out and meet people. We get to know them – to learn about their lives and their needs – without being invasive. These are real people with real lives to lead.
We don’t ask them to change their daily schedule or to put on an ‘act’. We know the stresses and the strains they face. We know their strengths and weakness. We know their likes and dislikes.They are much as part of our team and the EL family as we are. This is a brief introduction to just a few of our extended family.
Byamba – Gobi Oasis Tree Planting Project. If you’ve planted a tree, she’ll remember exactly where it is planted. Gobi Oasis is her lifelong passion.
The supremely talented Erdeneochir – khoomi singer and horse head fiddle player. His talent reminds you that Mongolia is not just about nomads.
The extended Galbadrakh family – yak herders and members of the Cooperative Ar Arvijin Delgerekh. They’re young, focused and yet the traditions of Mongolia run deep.
Bujee of Gorkhi Terelj National Park. A great illustration into how herders are adapting – setting up micro businesses as a way of substituting their income.
Gaya – one of the hardest working people we know. She’s a widower and an inspiration as a self-taught owner of a guesthouse micro-business in Kharkhorin.
Bashakhan – one of Bayan Ulgii’s most experienced Kazakh eagle hunters. He’s our ‘go-to’ man for all things related to eagle hunting. He is equally as devoted to his eagle and grandchildren!
Dakhar – a Kazakh herder. His local knowledge is as vast as his home – the Tsambagarav Uul National Park. Ask him about the yearly Communist wolf hunt, the 1988 earthquake or where to find Ibex. He knows the answers!
Ma’am of Ulaan Tsutgalan – gentle, kind and watchful. You can tell he has spent most of his life out in the wilderness. He even has a Facebook account – follow it for updates into the way of life for a modern herder.
Batbold and Jargaa – at the centre of the Tariat rural community and owners of the Sultin Tulga Eco Ger Camp. We arrange our annual two-day rubbish collection with them and the community of Tariat.
Batsaikhan – local protected area ranger of Baga Gazriin Chuluu. He can show you everything from Hunnu burial mounds to hidden medicinal springs. He is extremely proud of the area he protects. And he loves to join us for dinner at our campsite.
Introducting Ulziitogtokh Sodnomsenge – philanthropist and the inspiration behind the Nogoon Nuur Community Project in Ulaanbaatar. There are few safe community spaces within the ger districts but Nogoon Nuur is bucking this trend.
Arildirpurev of Erdenedalai- facing 21st Century challenges but keeping the Buddhist traditions alive. Erdenedalai is the location of EL’s own ger homestay – a percentage of the income raised goes towards community projects within Erdenedalai town – decided by town members themselves.