I have never loved rain (бороо: borro) as much as I have today.
After many long months where the temperature dropped down to -45C and the sky was black with pollution from burning tires and dirty coal, followed by a month of yellow dust storms that made smiling or opening eyes outside impossible, today is the first day that I have breathed clean air in 8 months.
I have been unable to stay inside. I walked the entire city breathing as deeply as physically possible. My nose and lungs are intoxicated by the smell of wet dirt. Overnight grass has sprung up in wet ditches and there is a damp quiet to the sound of traffic. I am skipping and jumping. Violins and cellos pluck new songs in my head.
This month I have been helping a local women farmers association, while I wait for comments on final reports on GIS maps and policy papers. This NGO teaches the poorest of the poor in Mongolia to farm so so they can afford to send children to school, feed their family, and supplement their income in general.
This month has been a truly happy one for another reason. I accomplished the impossible and my own personal challenge. I was able to teach a Mongolian farmer web design without the use of language. We were both left glowing in excitement. This glow has lasted for days. There are so many ways to communicate that are underappreciated and underutilized. This experience left me feeling that the unspoken ways of communicating are the key to effective teaching. It is these connections that capture the learner. I don’t really think it is the material. When these connections are strong they inspire creativity and the learning capacity that every teacher craves.
Below is the song that has been echoing in my head as I dance in the rain outside falling on the parched Mongolian steppe.