Monday, November 2, 2009

Site Placement: Thoughts from August 16

Still catching up...Recollections of what I was thinking...

So it looks like I really got everything I asked for and dared not ask for (becasue I was so afraid of not getting it...). I am out in the far West of Mongolia in a town called Hovd teaching at an NGO (I'm the only TEFL Volunteer not at a school!) called the American Culture and Information Center, which has a big English library and free internet. My main job will be teaching English to small classes of motivated students from low income families. What a great job! I solo teach all the time so I have the freedom to create my own curriculum which will be nice for sure. I apparently have an apartment (sooo happy about that!...hope it's warm in the winter though), as well, and it has running water, which is a huge deal. I have five awesome site mates plus one other girl who has been there for a year already which is wonderful because I was terrified of the loneliness of being the only American in some tiny town or having site mates I didn't like. Also, there are tons of NGO's and non-profits based there that I'd love to do some work with. Hovd is also really diverse, one of the most diverse places in Mongolia, actually. Because it's so close to the Kazakh aimag (province or state) of Bayan Olgii, there are lots of Kazakh people, as well as Mongolians. We have a Buddhist Temple and a Mosque! The only drawback is that it's a fly site (meaning that it's so far from the capitol that Peace Corps will pay for our flights to and from trainings). However, that really doesn't seem like such a bad thing; I think it sounds way better than having a 20 hour bus ride to the capitol. I was really anticipating being dissipointed in some way but it just didn't happen- everything worked out. Here's a site about Hovd (Wikipedia doesn't really have anything but this site was created by a PCV a few years ago):

The Site Placement Ceremony itself was really nerve wracking. The way they do it is that they have everyone in the gym in the school we're training at and have a huge map of Mongolia spread out on the floor. They call towns, organizations and then the name of the person who will be working there. You stand up, walk shoeless onto the map and someone leads you to stand on the town you'll be spending two years of you life in. Many people were pretty upset during this ceremony, since they didn't get the posting that they'd hoped for. But looks like I got really lucky on this one, just about everything I could have hoped for!

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