It is Tsagaan Sar here in Mongolia..New Year's Day...and the Foundation is busy busy busy as it always it this time of year with lots of initiatives. This year, however, we got an unexpected bonus. We always try to give out new clothes at this time of year as it is very important in Mongolian culture to have something new to start the new year with - this year we received 45 stunningly gorgeous hand knitted sweaters from Australia for the kids up at the Peak. 45 knitted by the same lady!!! As you look through the photos that follow....please remember that. One gorgeous sweater after another - all different - all beautifully designed and wonderfully constructed. I don't know the angel who knitted these sweaters but I hope some day to meet her and let her know that her gift was SO much more than sweaters...it was love. The teachers, other volunteers, parents and children ALL could simply not believe that one person could have this much talent, dedication and stamina to produce what is really MUCH more than just a lot of sweaters. The collection was a work of art, and, the entire Kindergarten was alive with joy and happiness as the children chose their sweaters and Oh so happily donned them. One lovely boy carefully chose his and then helped the others choose theirs then took a book and spent the next hour curled up reading in his new sweater. It was gorgeous! As I walked out he looked up at me and smiled a wonderful smile of pure contentment and said "This is a really warm sweater." and then went back to his book. So, to whoever you are Madam who knitted this amazing collection, thank you. Thank you for making life brighter, more beautiful and warmer for 45 of the poorest kids around.
...starting at the beginning though -The last few days, along with a couple of volunteers, I have been a little wee bit swamped with sorting out donations - this is what my house looked like getting ready to give out the sweaters, plus get toiletry bags and clothes ready for the 100 or so people that we are sending from the dump to the public shower to be clean for Tsagan Sar, plus putting together 85 packages of hat / coat / scarves to hand out tomorrow in the countryside...but that's another blog!
The teachers and volunteers ( and kids!) were blown away with the selection and the intricacy of the designs! Beautiful!
...Maybe this one?
Just as an aside, half of the children slept through the first selection process - kind of amazing because it was NOISY!
Everybody had such fun getting to choose what they liked...or sometime what their friends liked!
Our littlest member - a little under the minimum age for the kindergarten...but.... he lives with his handicapped Grandpa and no one else so the teachers , when they found out about this, went over and offered to pick him up and take him home every day so that his Grandpa can have a break. How sweet was that??
It was so beautiful to see the children looking like living Christmas decorations in their new duds! The whole Kindergarten looked so festive!!
The Puzzle Station ... I think it's time for some new ones. These guys could do these puzzled with their eyes closed!
Anybody happy here?
The first lot up and dressed it was time to head out to the "Community" ger at the centre where we would be handing out Boov - Traditional Mongolian bread which is piled up and topped with traditional curd, candy and sugar and forms the centrepiece of every Mongolian table at Tsagaan Sar. If you don't have this, it isn't Tsagaan Sar. This year the Foundation is giving out 100 of these - mostly to elderly people as they get the most visitors at Tsagaan Sar and, for them, it is crucial to have a proper table.
Volunteers brought the Boov from the storage container to the Community Ger.
Then, in groups of 10 they came in. We started with the Grandmas.
The eldest woman and the eldest man in the community each also received the chest of a cow which, when boiled will also take its place on the table beside the Boov so that each visitor who comes will be offered some meat.
And then the men! This gentleman had to called down from the dump where he was working in order to receive his Boov and meat. Check out that nose!! At some point that had to have HURT! Yikes!
Taking Boov home for Grandma who is house bound....then we were done with the Boov and it was back to the kindergarten to get some sweaters on the little ones who had just woken up!
Although, some of them did have to be convinced to leave the puzzle table for a moment...
Then it was on with the lesson!
I love the ducks on this sweater!!
Almost everyone woke up! Not to worry - he still has his choice of sweaters - I took up 5 extra so that we can keep a small supply in the centre for new kids who join in and don't have anything warm to wear! Anyway, that was yesterday. An amazing day and I am really touched to be able to be a link in the chain that got our Australian Angel's "jumpers" onto so many little angels' backs....now it's time to pack up the car with the 80 or so jacket & hats and head out to the countryside to make more peoples' Tsagaan Sar a cheery and warm one!
Hello, my name is Julie and I am the Vice-President of the Veloo Foundation. Welcome to the Blog, where I will post new activities and events going on with the foundation. Enjoy!