Welcome to CCA’s international development blog page … the sights and sounds, the people and places as experienced by credit union and co-operative volunteers on the frontline of development.

Monday, October 18, 2010

"Taking one for the team"

Travelling half way around the world is an endurance test to be sure. Wandering through the Seoul airport in preparation for the last leg to Ulaanbaatar, our bodies said it was about 11:30 pm, but what our eyes saw a bright, cloudless morning. No worries though, we’ll get our 12 hours back on the return flight.

At the same time it gives the coaches – who had not previously met, a chance to get to know each other. This includes comparing notes on what resources have been brought along; what skills sets can be leveraged by the group and what medical preparations were made for the trip. 

Comparing shots, pills etc reminds me of a scene from Mountains of the Moon (historical account of explorers Burton and Speke`s quest for the source of the Nile), where Burton meets Dr. Livingston (yes, the one you “presume”) at the Royal Geographic Society in London. After exchanging pleasantries they start to compare wounds suffered on explorations – removing various pieces of clothing to display progressively more outrageous injuries.

In our case, Martin and Dale topped everyone by admitting (thankfully without displaying the evidence) that they have received rabies inoculations. As it turns out, the dogs are both big and aggressive in Mongolia – and play a protective role, particularly in the rural regions. Now those who know me and my phobia of large dogs (usually explained away as an allergy but my family knows better) are probably getting a good chuckle about my predicament as we will no doubt experience a close encounter. But I have a plan! I will practice the saying, “nokhoigoo!” translated as “call off the dogs”, while those best prepared (read Martin and Dale) can act as bait. So thanks guys in advance for taking one for the team.


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