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First steps in Mongolia – Gold fever and sheep (26. and 27. July)

After a one day car trip, we got well acquainted to the Mongolian streets and we arrived the Arkhangai Province, which is famous for its beautiful mountain area, which are partly protected but partly also under gold mining. After enjoying dinner provided by one of the mines, we build up our not always water-proof tents. Those were almost perfect for the frequent summer rains in Mongolia.

Next morning we drove to the mine for breakfeast. We were welcomed by a strong smell of sheep that was accompanying us for the next two weeks. After we stepped in, we had the first chance to drink some traditional Mongolian milktea: Let us say you need to get used to it. In the following the recipe if you like to try:

  1. Cook water
  2. Add milk or milk powder
  3. Add rice and boil it until it is boiled away
  4. Add salt (Not to little)
  5. Sieve the rice
  6. Add black tea and finish!

Next point was a seminar about rehabilitation and water filter systems at the mine. After we learned the basic of rehabilitation in Mongolia, we got the chance to try in the field. Next to the was an area where we should plant some trees. Therefore we used an interesting and unorthodox method:

  1. Take an excavator and dig a 1m x 5m ditch in bad soil
  2. Fill this ditch with good black cotton soil, which you get from another place
  3. Take better sandbox-shovels and dig every 15cm a hole
  4. Plant the given trees and wait for thirty seconds
  5. Let the tree get rooted and plant at the same spot by a mongolian
  6. Spill a lot of water over it
  7. Rehabilitation completed

All the time with us was a drone, which was flying buzzing and humming over our heads, to document our efforts. In between we calculated the height of flying stones to end this agony. Following we took a look at the polluted river. The water pollution was caused by the clay released into the river after density separation of the gold. You can argue about the effectivity of the filter systems of the gold mine.

In the evening we first learned about Mongolia and their nomadic culture. They showed us how to slaughter a sheep in their traditional way. For us Europeans it was likely not the best execution. But, of course, we always must keep in mind our industrialized animal killings. Anyway, anyone with a stomach made of steel was able to try a soup of entrails, and later on everyone else could eat sheep. At the campfire we celebrated the beginning of this excursion with beer, vodka and mostly Mongolian songs ... The input of the Germans was rather weak with some Christmas songs.

During this night a wolf showed up, which is on the brink of extinction in this region of Mongolia. Of course, at a closer look it was the dog from the ger (Mongolian yurt) of our Mongolian neighbors.