Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Q: What is running water? A: When two Elders run down the hill to fetch two pails of water.

So, one of our members asked us to get some water from the hutag ('hoe-tuck') for her; in the outlying neighborhoods you have to go get your water in a big container from a central well. If you live on a mountain, it's often far away. Now, it's not a big round hole in the ground, but a building with a pump and stuff. 

So, my trainee, Elder Norlund, and I carried the two big containers (about as big as a computer tower) to the bottom of the mountain and went to the well. We found out the well's pump was not working. We asked another guy at the well if there were any nearby ones and he said... no. We were about to give up, but then we asked some other guys and they said there was one at the next bus stop. SO we ran to the next bus stop! That was the easy part. It was nice and 'warm' running... anyway, we got water there, just one bus stop away. Then we had to carry it back... that was hard. At first we tried just carrying it on our chests, and leaking water frosted our coats in ice (just our coats, we were fine.) Up the mountain we took turns carrying the two containers. It was a fun activity for my companion's first day of work in the country! 

This week, I am actually not in Ulaanbaatar!  For a few days at least, I am in Choibalsan in the far east of Mongolia.  It is about 650km away from the capital.  I am training my former companion, who is now district leader here.  I am here with the other zone leader, and our companions are back in Ulaanbaatar.  I will return on the one-year anniversary of my mission!

How cold is it, you ask?  Well, we don't have smartphones, but you don't need one of those to know that it is cold.  We are told this has been a warm winter so far, where we have been above 0°F on many days, but those days are probably going away soon and for a few weeks at least.  It will then be around -40°F at times.  Pity my new companion.  He is from San Diego.  At least I am from Iowa, where subzero weather is not uncommon.  

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