jump to navigation


Posted by Kelsang Chitta Karuna in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

Greetings Dear Ones, here we go again!
Change, Change, Change.
i hate it, i love it, i am always in it, the life of a nomad i guess,
i guess thats what i have always been, and what i will always be lifetime after lifetime. maybe i started this journey as a Mongolian nomad. maybe i will end it as a Mongolian nomad. well that was the plan, i came here to finish my life in mongolia, and thanks to others negative behavior that seems as if that is exactly what will happen. sometimes things happen beyond our control that work out for the best, even though it seems like it is the end of the world when you are caught up in it.
i think i handled my self well in this latest upheaval. but up upheaval it was. and again i get up dust my self off and carry on along the path.
so here we go again with change.
off to a new place, and new monastry, and a new provence, what will this bring? what new adventure is in store now?
as always we will see. life is a journey and trip and one adventure after another. …………………..
long live the process……………….


A sustainable life; Living off the grid, off the grid January 28, 2014

Posted by Kelsang Chitta Karuna in Uncategorized.
add a comment





******************************************************************************************** Mongolian culture is one of a nomadic people and the recent emergence of foreign mining and business, has resulted in the local culture of herding and nomadic lifestyle becoming an almost extinct and nonexistent entity.
Mining has taken its toll on pasture land and natural wildlife. And the foreign mind-set of mine / yours / self first, has driven hardship in the communal culture and natural ways of local herdsmen. They no longer have free lands to allow their flocks to graze and move freely with the land and changing of seasons.
The lands are littered with new foreign mining companies and land has been allotted to foreign investors, for mining, wild life fishing and hunting. All this is only successful in padding the pockets of corrupt and uneducated government officials, while the local people remain poor.
The local citizen work the mines and receive a very minor pay sometimes as little and the equivalent of 10-20$ a day, & children as young as 6 -7 yrs old working in the mines under hazardous and deadly conditions to immediate life and long-term health.
Children under the age of 6 reported to be housed in little more than large cages, left to sit and cry or sleep all day. Sad life as it is, but no other choice.
The local people are not educated enough to work in the big sky rise office buildings that are popping up in the central city of Ulaanbaatar, which used to be a wide open and beautiful landscape only a short 10 years ago when I first started coming to Mongolia.
It has now become a crowed and dirty polluted city, with way too many cars. The major roads, [and they only have 3] in the city are now on a daily bias as crowded as the California I405.
The government has now had to instate a policy where the cars with even # plates only drive on odd # days and odd # plates drive on even # days. Saturday and Sunday are free-for-all, and boy, that is the worst! [You might wonder in this poor society who has all these cars? The government and foreigners and the rest are broken down jalopies, (which literally break down in the middle of the road)]
So what has happened? The nomadic people and herdsmen have had to sell off their flocks and move in to the city, in order to survive and try to educate their children in this new society. The education of a Sheppard and country-style of living is no longer valued or a viable life for the sustained living of the future generations, Sad.
And where do they live when they move into this new city life style? Why in their ger, of course, it is their home; they own it and have had it for years. They love it and know how to live in this manner it is their heritage. And in my opinion it is a beautiful lifestyle.
And if they use all the money they have made by selling their live stock to buy one of the newfangled apartments they will have nothing to live on, they will have to go into debt in order to purchase one of these lovely apartments, which is nothing but one room, literally! Not a one bedroom with kitchen and bath and living room and all, but literally ONE ROOM shared toilet in the hall for 4 families, and this is literally a water closet from the 1800’s! no shower, showers are public wash houses, and not like in Korea and Japan and USA where our bath houses are spas, these are public wash houses, get in- get out- wash up and don’t touch anything with your bare body or feet, 1500 ₮ a pop, equal to 1.50$ in USD not bad for the US mind, but a fortune for a Mongol.
The kitchens of this one room flat is a counter and sink in the corner, you have to buy a hot plate and rice cooker and crock pot and such.
I have one student who is a teacher at the local university and his wife works at the bank, young newlyweds, and their 2 yr. old son, they have a 1 bedroom apartment, [or rather they are paying a mortgage to the bank for this luxurious palace] in it hey have a table and 2 chairs and a 40 inch flat TV on the wall. That’s it! What else can they afford? Hey priorities…. They are happy. And got the essentials, that’s all that matters.
Anyway! I digress a little and still am not at my point.
So we have the nomadic people not able to continue their native lifestyle and the youth and middle-aged not educated enough to work in these new offices, and having to leave the beautiful ‘countryside’ living behind, and move into the city, to maintain their life.
And I put ‘countryside’ in half quotes, because all of Mongolia is ‘countryside’ Ulaanbaatar is only city because it has paved streets and business buildings, and is the capital, the amazing part is that Mongolia can get more ‘country’.
These shepherds and country wives have only the choice to become domestic servants, cleaning these buildings, while being separated from their husbands working sometimes days away by train in the mines, those that don’t work in the mines become taxi drivers making 1$ a run anywhere in the city. If not that, they become alcoholics, sad, depressed and angry about their life, the life of their people, the future of their children, knowing they cannot provide for their families, and cannot teach their children the traditions and love of their homeland as they were taught by their fathers, and destined to watch their country being slowly chipped away and their beloved Mongolia drained of its resources, culture, natural wild life, and national pride.
Chinggis Khan must be turning over in his grave!
So now to my point! [Finally] LOL!
The city is crowded because of the insurgence of its citizens having to move into the city to survive, in their gers and with their coal and wood burning stoves. This was not a problem when they were in the country side and spread out over lots of wide open plains and even in the capital of Ulaanbaatar this was not so much a problem, the problem has now come because of the non – nomadic life style. People are still burning the coal and wood stove but they are more people per square foot and they are not moving. The ger communities are popping up all over. One thing about Mongolia, which is twofold good and bad, is that it is legal to pop up your ger where ever you want and illegal in the national law to forbid Mongols to put up a ger where ever they want.
On one hand I find that cool! The land in Mongolia is free! Especially with my plans to one day buy a ger or 2 [or 5] and move to the country and start a retreat center.
On the other hand it is causing so many people to move to the city area and live, and this is the main reason Ulaanbaatar is becoming more and more crowded and polluted every day.
As I said in the beginning of this post, the terrain of Mongolia is not suited to digging pipelines to heat the buildings. Nor do they have the engineering skills and knowledge to do so. The buildings that are heated by central systems are heated from each buildings’ local boiler room which burns coal and wood, each house be it a ger or a wood frame brick and mortar house is heated by a local attached boiler room, and the new buildings; the skyscraper hotels, office buildings, supermarkets, and shopping malls, are heated by a city heating system, which maintains a boiler room and massive smoke stack.xmas 075
And supplies heat to these buildings, and guess what this heating company burns?! You guessed it wood and coal!
So I ask you, what is the difference if 200 people each burn a single coal fire [24/7], or a huge company burns one massive coal fire [24/7] to heat 200 homes?
Only difference I see is now the government has ‘got cha’ once again and if they want to up the prices, you must pay or freeze!, unlike in America where it is illegal for the city to cut off the heat of the people during winter. And as it is now, they don’t start lighting the fire until they want to, this year they did not light it until late October, and they cut it off when they want and BTW, the central heating system is linked to hot water so there is no hot water in the summer.
So many people (foreigners) come here and say ‘oh, these terrible poor people are moving into the city and burning these stoves and polluting the air, they are so terrible’ …’these poor should move into a government subsidized apartment [that doesn’t yet exist] and stop living like that!’ and stop polluting the air that ‘I’ have to breathe’ SMH…
The problem is not the ger communities, it is the high-rise buildings and the hundreds of SUV’s and Hummers on the roads in Ulaanbaatar, and the forced moving of the nomadic people into a stationary lifestyle without the benefit of education or alternative methods to heat their homes.
This is a modern problem, Mongolians have been burning wood and coal in the gers since time began and there never was a problem, you cannot blame a modern problem on an ancient lifestyle, the finger must point to the modern problems by way of the modern activities and modern lifestyle. If it weren’t for the modern buildings and modern activities, and the modern thinking, Mongolia would still be the unspoiled and beautiful land it was. But that is what is called progress…..

i for one, call it digress…. maybe that’s just me….

%d bloggers like this: