Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mongolian Permaculture: Day 11 - Tsergiin Gol Zaygal Co-Operative


Sick today!

Woke up early with the sunrise around 5:30am with my stomach doing somersaults. Knew I shouldn't have polished off the last of the
Suu Te Tse [Milk w/ Tea] when Bek and I turned in last night. That stuff had been sitting in its thermos all day; not a good decision.

I sleep on the ground in the morning sunlight and do some chi kung exercises to get my blood flowing, which settles my stomach a little. Montezuma's revenge ain't got nothin' on Chinggis' revenge.

Three hours of bouncing along in our 4WD again brings us to a new landscape that I glimpse through sleepy eyes; I am trying to sleep it off while avoiding whiplash from the bumby road. Something we have not seen yet: trees on the flats and bare mountain tops, suggesting lower rainfall in this area because the trees are only able to get enough water along the drainage areas in the low point of the basin.

We pull into
Sumiya, the Bayantes Field Officer's hasha [family compound] and I stumble out of the car, give Rick and Kat the thumbs up, then promptly fall asleep on the family couch. No gers here, her salary affords her the nicer things, like a small wooden house, new furnishings, a nice couch [the most comfortable couch in the world when your tummy is twisting laps], and modest entertainment center complete with a very small flatscreen monitor.

It is furnished similarly to how a low-moderate income rental unit in the west may be fitted out, a stark contrast to the excessive, oftimes obnoxious notions of what affluence [affluenza?] looks like in the West.

When I wake a few hours later, a note tells me where the others have gone and the kids and watch Jackie Chan movies dubbed in Mongolian for the afternoon while I wrestle with my stomach and fall in and out of sleep.

Apart from my rotten belly, the day is another success with a visit to
Tsergiin Gol Zaygal Co-Operative twenty minutes away. This co-operative is nearly barren, nestled into higher rocky ground above the settlement zones. They wont get much of a crop this year.

Rick suggests they move 50 meters downhill to a dry stone riverbed, where the crops could be able to access underground water more easily and benefit from nutrient deposited when the snows melt and water does start to flow.

He is tickled when they return because he has met his
Crazy Man - there is one in every country - the one guy who has got everything right and is succeeding with growing crops, but is outcast because he is doing everything opposite to the rest of the village...

This old man has the last chickens of the entire area, a flock of about twenty, and manages to haggle his way onto the PDC course for a day [Animal Management sessions], and rent us a rooster and some hens for the course... which means I am off the hook for playing the part of 'Lead Chicken' on that day since we've got the real deal now.

He is even cultivating wild onions, brought in from the fields and planted out in his hasha, kind of like a spring onion with a small shallot. Rick is hopeful that the plant will grow better in more fertile soils, and can be cultivated over time to produce a larger bulb.

Belly is still gurgling in knots and I am hopeful that I can sleep it off tonight. Urgh.

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