Lester & Laura in Mongolia

Sunday, December 16, 2012

"You'd think that I could muster up a little soft shoed gentle sway but I don't feel like dancin', no sir, no dancin' today."

"What country is that?"  I asked, pausing from painting the vast expanse of northern Canada.  I gestured towards Ulzii-Bayar as he colored a long peninsula forest green.  He stopped painting and pondered the landmass.  "Hmmm, I don't know," he admitted shrugging his shoulders.  I pointed to it with my brush handle.  "It's Thailand," I added.   "Ah, right," he smiled.  "It's warm there, I'll go there some day," he added this with an air suggesting that this had been determined for some time.

It has been over a year in the making.  The World Map Project.  I first got the idea browsing our Peace Corps resources website many many months ago.  After making multiple forays out to the city to get the appropriate supplies, helping another volunteer do the project in a neighboring town, and gathering support and interest in my school, my English Club and I were finally ready to tackle the task.  To my students it meant a really hands on English/Geography lesson.  As we painted I asked them personal questions about what we were creating.  What countries have you visited?  What countries do you want to visit?  What's this island?  What's that continent?  Do you think its as cold as Mongolia here?  After the three day project finally finished they ended with enthusiasm and I'm hoping further knowledge of our world.

To me the project meant all those things too.  Sharing two things I'm pretty good at English and geography, but it also meant something a little more.  Multiple volunteers have called Omnodelger home over the years.  A small handful of women, one man, and now me.  I am to be the last of Omnodelger's Peace Corps volunteers.  The town has met its cap.  Time for other places to get a turn.  As I roam the halls of our little school physical evidence of those past volunteers is almost nonexistent.  Every once and while whilst rummaging and searching for some forgotten resource I'll stumble upon an old photo or a lost lesson plan of one of my predecessors.  It is sobering to say the least.  For me the map project is something physical.  Something that will stand through time if appreciated.  It isn't a legacy or a testament to myself.  It simply echoes in a colorful way that the Peace Corps was here.  That a handful of foreigners were here.  That individuals wanted to help and came here.

That we were here.

1 comment:

  1. Rest assure you are not becoming a halfhearted man. Awesome job!