Played a dusty, epic game of 3-on-3 basketball in the family hasha [family compound] at Bayantes soum yesterday evening, then a few games of H_O_R_S_E [in Mongolian, of course!] with Bek, Rick, Ingktor, and a couple of the kids, who have improved markedly from the prior day's impromptu basketball lesson by twilight.
Camped out beside a river last night and had a visit from DrunkenMan, who has been hosting us for the last two days [and I thought was just SmileyMan until today] and his friend ChickenMan who Rick and Kat met a couple days ago. We shoo them away, wondering how they could stay upright on their motorcycle as they wobbled away.
Earliest start we've had all trip, we woke up with the sunrise [around 5:30am], and Ingktor picked us up around 7am so that we could get back to Totsensengol by early afternoon.
Six hours later we roll back into the compound where the PDC will be held over the next two weeks.
We've managed to pack in 5x the number of trainings we'd anticipated being able to conduct on the original schedule, and judging from the reactions of the co-operative members, and the happy look on Bek's face, we've also managed to leave everyone with at least a few ideas they can begin to implement for an immediate impact.
My favourite quote from Rick during each training:
"This knowledge and information is my gift to you, which I give freely ...I only ask that you share this knowledge with others as freely as I have shared with you so that all Mongolians can learn and grow from here."
This, he tells me, is to help ensure that the knowledge and information is transferred beyond the small group an NGO is working with, and into the community. It is very important to structure all the trainings, no matter how small, in an appropriate and replicable way - by using storytelling relevant to their culture, practical examples that can be used immediately, and hands-on training [literally in-the-field] - what he has taught can easily be taught to others willing to learn.
Representatives from each co-operative will now be attending the two-week intensive PDC in Totsensengol for in-depth training on permaculture design principles and teaching methodologies so that they can return with a deeper foundation to lead their groups from.
This is why two entire days are being devoted to 'Teach-the-Teacher' Training at the end of the PDC.
As Rick says, "It is one thing to know something and tell someone to do it: Go out and play a really great game of basketball! ...It is an entirely different thing to have the skills to teach someone how to do it: This is how you dribble, now let's practice and build this skill ...this how you shoot, here are some drills we can do to develop this skill ...this is how you defend, let's play some practice games to develop this skill ...these are the rules of the game, now let's play a few more practice games to understand and develop our own strategies for different challenges ...now we can start to think about going out and playing a great game of basketball..."