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By Mark

Well we weathered the storm and its turning rather nice out (I would not call it Indian Summer yet) but the par heat came on today!  It was starting to get rather chilly.   We are very thankful the heat is now on. 

by Mark

Its hard to translate the word YANA.  It has a rather fluid definition which makes so versatile. For example it can serve as an exclamation such as.  “It’s September 19th, did you see the snow outside?  Yana.” or “It dropped from 23 C (73 F) yesterday to 0 C (32 F) , Yana, when will the heat be on?” In this instance it could be translated roughly as “are you kidding me?” Yana has become a personal favorite word. (The other favorite is BISH which means not.  “Going to snow?  Bish” ) 


This was the first time we got text messages on our phones warning us of a storm.  We were about half convinced it would come.  Usually we get some dustings first, nothing like this.  Yana.



I sit looking out with a mug full of steaming tea by my side.  I watch smokey sitting on his fat haunches, listen as he growls eating his piece of meat.  In his mind he is a lion on the savannah defending his latest kill.  I think of the words of my city’s native son.  He used the word fog- I think snow, there are no harbors here.

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

He forgot one word- Yana.

by Mark

Ah, the heat is on. It came on Tuesday the 15th of September.  We are still waiting on snow but I have a feeling its not to far behind.  In order to get ready we had to do a few repairs to the pars (radiators).  Its been a very cool and wet summer.  We are thinking that this winter could be a cold one.


Each par is actually make up of several sections and each section is connected by a coupling.  We had to replace several gaskets.  (I say we but it was the CAMA handyman Olan Bayer who did it- I just helped carry the things and believe me, they are heavy!) We took them outside and drained the sludge (rust) out.  We used a piece of re-bar with a pry bar (see below) to un-screw the couplings from the inside. 


Here you can see the new section.  The frayed stuff in between is called- rope but is either hemp or oakum.  They wrap it around the threads and then the build up of deposits will eventually seal the leaks.  It actually works much better than Teflon here.  The pars will probably leak for the first week or so until the leaks self-seal.  Most pars need to be changed, cleaned every two years.  Occasionally when they fix pipe bursts sand and tiny rocks can get washed into the line- you have to flush it out.  

There are two kinds of pars, Russian and Chinese.  You only want to get the Russian ones- they are designed and built to last.


The pipes in the kitchen had to be cut through and then new couplings were put on.  Notice there are not shut of valves.  The pars are connected in series.  If there is a problem the whole apartment is shut off.  The water will be warm for several weeks and then turn HOT.  We had a bit of a scare when several people said the water was coming on today.  This would not have been good.  We actually reduced the number sections in the living room because our apartment is just way to hot in the winter (around 80-85 F No, I’m not kidding but am certainly glad for the heat when it hits -30 F)

The system is not perfect but I have to say, it is great to have heat that isn’t dependent on electricity and overall is a dependable system.  You have a hot shower available and serious water pressure! Best shower I have had.   

by Mark

I’m experimenting with the new camera a lot and wanted to share a few of the shots- different views of Darhan


Coming Rain


I borrowed Lain’s tripod to try to get some moon shots.  I thought the moon, which was full, would show up about 15 minutes later than the night before but it was late. Had some nice time with Toby during the golden hour- but it got cold quick.  Still learning the camera but was pleased with the light it captured.  This pic focused to much on the foreground- should have been on manual.


The sculpture is of a Mongolian rider playing the horse head fiddle



My personal favorite




I rushed outside to get this shot but missed the most brilliant colors.  Unfortunately there was a guy sitting on a bench who thought I was taking a picture of him and yelled at me.  I’m learning.

By Mark

This chapel service held on September 4, 2009 in Darhan marks the start of the Christian Leadership Training Center.  This program is designed to train individuals for leadership in the church.  The training program will meet through the school year during evenings.  It is designed to offer a certificate in Christian Studies which will build towards a Bachelor’s degree in Christian Studies. 


Dr. Pieter Theron, our South African colleague, begins the service with Moogie, our translator.  The direct translation of the wording in the background is Christ Believer Leadership Training Center.  The logo was designed by Pieter’s and Haniki’s daughter and draws on the design of a ger door.


Dawaa, who serves as a pastor and is enrolled in the training program, reads from Matthew 28.  (If you are interested in wrestling – ask Dawaa)


Introduction of many of the staff who help make the training center function from day-to-day.  Haniki, Pieter’s wife, is in the middle.

DSC_0425   DSC_0424

You can’t have a celebration without food! 


Cinda and I both turned out pretty good in this picture (where did the gray hair come from?)  And it was cold, thus the three layers of shirts on Cinda! 


Cinda, Narjaa (not sure about the spelling?) and Delgormaa.  Delgormaa is the CAMA seamstress who made Annika’s dancing dress.  Narjaa is the mother of our house helper and friend, Tuya, and she also works at the CLTC building.  They are both on the leadership team and frequently teach in the church.

by Mark

Toby is now 5!  Wow!  We went out to dinner together, opened presents and ate the chocolate cake that Cinda baked.  Toby got a Michael Jordan basketball outfit (unfortunately its with the Wizards, not the Bulls!) but loves it.  He is really enjoying his HotWheel’s tracks from Granna and Grandpa and Grandma and Grandpa.


I’m 5! I’m also going to be bigger than my parents really soon!


Who is Jordan?


Walkie-Talkies, A Luke Skywalker Lego watch and a cake.  What could be better?  Over. 


On the Saturday before his Birthday Toby had a fantastic pirate adventure birthday with all his friends (check out the awesome cake that Cinda made!) Check out the photos on the link below.

Pictures of Toby’s party and random shots of Darhan

by Mark

Another school year has begun.  It’s new for us as Toby and Annika head off to school together.  We are still waiting for the MK school teacher to be able to come.  In the mean time Annika is going to school until 1:00 PM and then working on history at home.  Toby also goes until 1:00, but only four days a week.  We will be having an interim couple coming to be able to help with the teaching until our permanent teacher Karen is able to join the team here. 


Loaded and ready to go!


A new adventure awaits




On the bus



With our friends

by Mark  (well MSNBC actually)


Here is an interesting story on the MSNBC wires.  My only question is why is there a story on Naadam six weeks after it happened?  I’m glad they posted it but its not timely- Naadam happens around mid-July.  One comment asked about how long before all the TV stations show up and ruin it, well from what I hear most of the people at the National Stadium are gaadad xymys (foreigners)

Good pictures, good read.  There are local Naadam festivals and then the big on in Ulaanbaatar, think of it like county and state fairs.


MSNBC article on Naadam festival