In the tracks of Genghis Khan
The 2011 Mongolian trip was a truly fantastic experience for 20 boys, as they discovered one of the last truly wild places on Earth.
WORDS: MR OLIVIER MARQUET – TEACHER-IN-CHARGE OF THE MONGOLIA TRIP
In September 2011, 20 boys, two teachers and one doctor embarked on a three-week adventure that would take them from the Great Wall of China to the vast open plains of Mongolia, following the tracks of Genghis Khan, the 13th century Mongol leader who conquered half the world.
The students embarked on this important journey 10 months prior to departure, raising nearly $8,000 for charity, learning the basics of the Mongolian language and culture, and practising horse-riding. On their arrival in Mongolia, the students spent a few days living with nomadic families and became part of the local community, sharing their daily routine, their food, and their Gers, the traditional yurts which still house half the population.
The boys spent two days riding Mongol horses through the autumn-coloured valleys and forests, accompanied by our nomad hosts. We then travelled to the remote village of Binder, near the Siberian border. We spent four days repainting the kindergarten, sharing the lives of the local kids, practising Mongolian wrestling, and teaching them Australian football.
We left Binder with new experiences and new friends, knowing that we had forged strong bonds with this community. We then travelled back to the capital, Ulaanbaatar, and visited the Lotus Orphanage, for which we had also raised funds. We then travelled across the Gobi Desert to Beijing on the trans-Mongolian railway, a two-day trip through the vast and empty desert.
Our time in Beijing was spent hiking for a day on a remote part of the Great Wall, and exploring the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace.
This was a truly fantastic experience for the boys, meeting extraordinary people, embracing their culture and discovering one of the last truly wild places on Earth.
The next trip will take place in July 2013. Please contact me if you wish to hear more about this project and our fundraising campaign.