Being an inexperienced traveler, having only stepped foot in North America and
I knew that I wanted to do something a little different and volunteering appealed; I discovered Concordia thanks to Google. Then I found the problem of having so many fantastic projects to choose from. Working with children sounded like it suited me, having spent lots of time with children (having an 8 year old sister largely contributing to this), so I selected the kid’s camp project and chose
Prior to departure, the planning, the budgeting, and the expectations all seemed overwhelming. The preparation weekend was very useful for reassuring me and it widened my horizons, in addition to stamping out any apprehensions. Hence, I was purely excited on departure.
I got to visit
On arrival in
Evidently we did not have the creature comforts; the toilets became bearable and the lack of running water was no problem when we had a river a short walk away and a gas stove to boil water on. These things really were not priority as we got immersed into the project after bonding wit
Most of the kids were orphans so I expected them to be sad and withdrawn, not animated and full of fun as they all were. We were not expecting that they would offer us so much love, and not want a single thing in return.
(The kids in the project are having fun with a cake!!)
Although many of the kids did not speak English, we managed to communicate wit
The volunteers had the opportunity to see a different part of the country over 2 days in the middle of the project. We stayed in a desert area with a Mongolian family in a ger tent, what an experience. This really was sampling the culture as closely as anyone could hope to. We also visited Buddhist temples, drank horse milk and saw goats being milked; all symbols of
Traveling after the project came highly recommended from some of my fellow volunteers, who were lucky to do so. There are beautiful lakes to be seen,
To me, this work camp did not feel like work, instead it felt more like I had been privileged to be in this unspoilt country and to spend time wit
It was so hard to leave behind the completely compelling and tremendously rewarding time that I had had.
There is a website about the children, with photos, at www.theirfuture.net. Please take a look.
(Katie Blampied, Mongolia 2005)