A Trip to Visit DIC Projects
August 8, 2010
August 8, 2010
Usually we try to check on Deseret International Charities' (DIC) projects as they go along to make sure all is going well and to evaluate them when they are completed. However, due to time constraints and distance, we have been unable to visit many of the gardens in the Garden Project, the schools/dormitory complexes that DIC assisted during the Dzud disaster, the governments that DIC worked through to assist the herder families during the Dzud disaster, a rehabilitation kindergarten, and some of the hospitals that received equipment and training during DIC's Neonatal Resuscitation Training to see how perpetuation of the training was coming. Because we had gardens in Darkhan, Erdenet, Bulgan, Selenge, and Murun that we needed to visit, as well as other projects, we planned a road trip to visit these places and check on projects there. Elder Clark had mentioned that he and Sister Clark needed to do audits in some of the countryside branches and had some Perpetual Education business to do, so the four of us teamed up together for the trip.
Richard and our assistant Azzaya spent a couple of days making plans for our trip. It took a lot of effort to find hotels, interpreters, arrange meetings with branch presidents, hospitals, schools, gardeners, and government officials, etc. (Especially when you consider that Mongolia doesn’t have a Dex-on-line!)
There is much we could tell about the trip, but some of the highlights were visiting the gardens from the Garden Project.
The Garden Project
Deseret International Charities partnered with all of the LDS wards and branches in Mongolia to provide seeds, tools, gardening manuals, and some greenhouse materials to members of their local units. One of the most rewarding things we did on our trip was to visit gardens of members who were participating in this Garden Project. We visited around thirty gardens in the branches of Erdenet 1 and Erdenet 2, Darkhan 1 and Darkhan 2, Bulgan, Selenge, and Murun. Some gardeners were beginning gardeners while others were more seasoned. They all proudly showed us their gardens and were excited to show tell us about their experiences.
In Selenge Branch in Sukhbaatar City lives a widow by the name of Adiyasuren. She is a widow who has three daughters. One of her daughters is a recently returned missionary, Delca Muren. Adiyasuren’s only income comes from her thirty goats, her chickens and her meager garden. Every morning, she takes her thirty goats to the river to so they can get a drink of water and then to the mountain to graze. She only has thirty goats because half of her herd died last winter in Mongolia’s terrible Dzud disaster.
Adiyasuren was grateful for the 20 kilo of seed potatoes, tools, garden manual, and seeds she received from the garden project. Watering her garden is a difficult ordeal. When her garden needs water, she buys water from a neighborhood well and hauls it on a handcart up a long steep hill so she can water her garden.
The other garden belongs to Javalgandolam. She is also widow who has been a member of the church for 10 years. Javalgandolam is the Relief Society president. Three of her children are returned missionaries and one just left to go on his mission. His name is Zolboo. Javalgandolam’s husband, who died of a heart attack in 2008, was also a member of the Church. They were pioneers of Selenge branch. Javalgandolam hasn’t been to the temple, but would like to go. After Zolboo comes back from his mission, her family has a goal to work hard so they can go to the temple to be sealed as a family.
She has six children. One daughter Zolzaya is a recently returned missionary and her youngest son Zolboo has just left on a mission. Javalgandolam cares for her younger brother’s son and daughter who has health problems.
Gardening isn’t new to Javalgandolam; her whole fence (property) is planted into a garden. She appreciated the 20 kilo of seed potatoes and seeds she received from the Church/DIC’s Garden Project. She bought cucumber seeds, but the rest of the seeds she planted were from seeds she harvested from her own garden last year. She has a shallow water well that she pumps water out of to use on her garden. She works almost every day of the week, but she doesn’t work on Sunday. She rests that day.
Javalgandolam’s garden is her only source of income. She said that the planting is easy, but the selling is hard. She rents a truck to transport her produce to Ulaanbaatar so she can sell it there. She dug a root cellar and during the winter, she puts a ger over it to protect her remaining produce. She is an amazing example of a dedicated home gardener and her dedication has paid off to produce an amazing home garden. In addition to a wonderful garden of vegetables, she has planted beautiful flowers which adorn her home and make it look like a quaint cottage.
Daremsuren, who was one of the gardening coordinators and a master gardener, has perfected the art of saving run-off water and rain water to use on his lush garden. Members of his branch frequently drop by to see his garden and to receive advice from him on successful gardening practices.
When complimented on his wonderful garden, he simply said, “Heavenly Father gave me all of this.”There are many more gardening stories. Some are new gardeners who have never planted before. Some told us they will be expanding their gardens next year. A couple or gardners built fences around their gardens to keep cows and other animals out. But they were all pleased with their efforts and excited for their forthcoming harvest.