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Out of the Mine

October 1, 2010

I’m reaching all of you this afternoon from the wireless internet in the human resources department of Energy Resources: the Mongolian company that is in charge of the mining operation out here in the South Gobi. They were at our school this morning to oversee the opening of their charitable gift to our school–a brand new set of 25 computers all loaded up with DynEd English Language Software. They’ve also seen fit to partner us with a specialized English Language private school in UB called The Orchlon School, and we’re all working on a project together to update my school’s current foreign language curriculum. It’s a pretty massive undertaking, but it’s also an extremely exciting project to be a part of. I’m watching the transformation of this soum and this secondary school from how “it’s been done” to “how it will be done.

The facilities at this mining company are pretty magnificent. The camp is complete with comfortable housing for workers and is essentially completely self-reliant with a gym, dining rooms, a small cafe that serves cappucino, and TV rooms. They even have hot running water–all of these amenities hiding out on the edge of my little soum. It was here all along, I just didn’t know about it.

My invitation to tour out here has been a great opportunity for me to get to know a major player in the development of my town. Community outreach by the company is robust and (in the case of the school) extremely helpful. The director of their community outreach program has asked me to teach a voluntary English class to their employees once a week and I plan to accept. They’ve offered to send a car for me in the evening before the lesson and then dinner in their cafe afterward as part of the package! I’m not sure what to do with all this luxury, but I imagine somehow I’ll get used to it. I’m slightly daunted by all of this, but I think it could be a great opportunity to make an invaluable connection with “the money” around town. That would be extremely helpful in the future as I try to get my own development projects started here–the folks mine would not be a bad group to have on my side.

Hope all is well on your end. Things here are splendid.

All my best,

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 4, 2010 11:57 am

    Rob,

    The pace of your work and life is picking up speed….don’t fall in the mine…assume it is an open pit operation…..your legacy is getting the ball rolling….which you are doing…..and it appears a new partner with the mining company will help you do just that….the only time I had a hot shower in Sierra Leone was when I traveled to Freetown..on occasion….the rest was cold water…..and the kerosene refig kept the beer cold….by the way will go to DC in September to celebrate the 50 anniversary of the PC with those of us who are still trucking from Sierra Leone I…..marilyn and I think of you daily….and your work as a teacher…..told your parents about an article on Mongolia in the Times last week….about to open a stock exchange that will benefit the citizens?????…and was reminded at how imortant Mongolia is becoming because of its resources…..will eventually send you something in the mail…..did a winter coat from your parents arrive??????????…over and out for now…..was reminded of how im;portant steinbeck is to us ….thanks….Big Al…mcivora@comcast.net

  2. Kimberly Oxie permalink
    October 4, 2010 9:28 pm

    Hi ROB…When you mentioned the mine project in an earlier EMail I had thoughts of some potential “discoveries” that might be complementary to your efforts – I never dreamed of the car service, cafeteria dinners, and how about that gym? I had really zeroed in with the hope that their technology suite would be the real “find”! Well, sounds like this place will indeed be an Oasis….and it will complement all you are there to accomplish – plus a few creature comforts within your “geography”. COOL.

    I will be very interested in the transformations that the educational committees are trying to bring to their national programs. Sounds like a big task but excellent that they are committed to upgrading their curricula for their nation. Everybody is “getting it” that this Global Village will have extraordinary requirements to succeed in this century. It must be so rewarding to be on the cutting edge with Mongolia’s educational progressives. As time permits, please reflect on highlights of this transformation for a few of us in the old education game.

    Think of you often – in fact Charlie Rose – the great interviewer – had the President (?) of Mongolia on….so I saved and have it taped. I will let you know his comments.

    Take care,
    Kimbo Oxie

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