Rising in time for breakfast is easier today.
It’s a short walk from my four bed dormitory to the common room, where I’m served omelette and jam, on toast. This is accompanied by consecutive cups of tea and an interesting magazine, which discusses Mongol life, old and new.
A full page spread titled Beauty of the Steppe describes the beauty of a young women riding horseback.
… she would not only stir the hearts of many youths but would attract the gaze of a learned city dweller.
D. Natsagdorj, from Beauty of the Steppe
A few pages on, a three page article presents a number of leading statements-cum-questions to D. Buyantogtokh, Governor of the Khanbogd soum (district). Khanbogd soum is home to the six billion dollar Oyu Tolgoi (“Turquoise Hill”) gold and copper mine.
Buyantogtokh explains the inequality created in the administrative reshuffle of the 1920s. Some districts had lost access to geographical resources and herders could no longer freely move their stock in response to natural events. As a result, settlements were abandoned and people moved to population centres which were better resourced.
He says it’s important for people to have belief, patience, endurance, knowledge and skills. The belief that things will get better, the patience and endurance to play a 20 year mineral exploration game and the knowledge and skills to make the most of their find.
He’s happy to get into bed with well-resourced mining companies like Ivanhoe Mines / Rio Tinto. Mineral mining is a game changer and the right of his generation. Patriotism is a romantic notion which ignores the need to develop modern infrastructure and grow.
Gobi men should not be condemned forever to tend camels and ignore modern technology. Everyone should love their native land, but how can a poor and hungry person be a patriot?
D. Buyantogtokh, Governor of Khanbogd soum