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Ministry in Mongolia
I have been blessed with leadings involving Mongolian nomadic herders for 24 years! And have been able to do the work through Quaker help from Lyman Fund grants, being a released Friend from Middlebury Meeting one year, Northwest Quarterly Meeting, and a Legacy Fund grant from NEYM. I also started a non-profit, Nomadicare.org, whose mission is to support and preserve traditional Mongolian nomadic culture through healthcare, films, and stories.
This summer, our team went to the taiga in northern Mongolia, where these reindeer herders live, to film a movie with the working title Transition: Nomads at Risk. Our protagonist is Khongoroo, the young woman standing in the center holding her daughter. Khongoroo has become a medical doctor and works in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. She grew up with her reindeer herding family. Her mother Tsetseg (in purple with scarf) and sister are sitting in front of her.
Every year since 2003, when we found children with bleeding gums, we have provided each person with a year’s supply of vitamin C and hygiene kits when we visit. This year we also gave carving tools from a generous donor. Carving reindeer antlers (shed naturally) and selling them gives the herders money to buy flour and rice. Here the Dukha people have come together to tell us about their year and receive our gifts. Note their urts or tipi homes in the background.
If you would like to know more about nomadic life, we have four movies: Steppe Herbes, Mare’s Milk, and Jelly Jars: a Journey to Mongolian Medicine (1996); Gobi Women’s Song (2006); Ceremony (2015); and Migration (2016); as well as a book, Reindeer Herders in My Heart (2012). All are available through our website and proceeds further our work.