Six students from the University of Pittsburgh Honors College trek across Mongolia in search of illumination, perspective, and the perfect cup of Yak-milk tea.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Like a bug in the mud

I havent written for a few days, I thought the end of school would make my life more relaxing, but it seems to have doubled the number of cool things I want to do. I'm currently attending the Northern Buddhist Confrence on the Environement and Development. It's a really interesting arrangement of about 50 monks and 20 representaives from really large NGO's (ie the World Bank, World Wildlife Foundation and UNESCO). There are three other students attending, two from the French Embassy and one from Yugoslavia, though they are all graduate and doctorate students. Our lectures are on the sorry state of the Mongolian environment and ways that the religious comminities can help to solve them. Today's lecture was on composting toilets and coal burning stoves. But the intersting lectures have been from Tibetan exiles, a monk from Thiland and the UNESCO representaive for Asia who spoke about reviving hand-crafts and the necessity of material culture for cultural preservation.
This afternoon provided a field trip to a mountain outside of the capitol city. We witnessed a prayer ceremony which was unusual because it was a combination of rituals represnting each of the countries that the monks came from. It rained the entire time, and none of them seemed to be effected. The rain finally stoped just as the ceremony was completed and we were walking down the hill, which is when the second adventure began. The other studnets and I got in the first bus cause I was supposed to be teaching my english class really soon. But of course the first bus was the faviorite and instantly burrowed it's self into the mud. A bit of manuvering and i'm soaked but happy and ready for tomorrows fieldtrip....