Why do Mongolians like stones so much

Travel - wolf howls as an alarm clock: get happy with the Mongolian nomads

Wolf howls as an alarm clock: get happy with the Mongolian nomads

The carpenter Stefan Treier lived in a Mongolian yurt for a month. "How wasteful I often live in rich Switzerland," he sometimes asked himself. He is glad he dared the adventure.

Holding a rusty bunch of keys in my hand, I stand on a hill and look out over the vast, barren landscape. Next to me a pile of stones, adorned with yellow and blue ribbons, symbolizing an owoo, a place of power. I feel the energy of the earth, let my thoughts wander - and am very happy.

I am in Mongolia, in the Zagaan Hotol settlement. I came here with the aim of helping a nomad in his or her activities. Five months ago I read an article in a travel magazine about a couple who had crossed Mongolia. They raved about their tour guide, a nomad named Gana. You left his contact details so that interested travelers can get in touch with him. That's how I contacted him.

For more than three weeks I have been living here in the country with Gana and his mother Zeepee and the dog Aslan. I have my own yurt that I can retreat to. Everything is set up very simply: carpets cover the floor of the yurt. Next to the entrance is a yellow canister filled with groundwater and a large tin vessel - my bathroom. To the right is an old wooden sofa covered with a colored fabric. Because all of my clothes are scattered on it, I call it my closet. My mat, my bed, lies on the floor across from the entrance. In front of it is a low table on which I keep my treasures from the past week. The rusty bunch of keys, the notebook and my camera.

After fine Mongolian food, we often sit in the main yurt at the low table on the small wooden stools and discuss the situations we have experienced in German. Gana's father spoke German and worked as a translator. He passed the joy of this language on to his son, who studied German in Mongolia and lived in Germany for a short time. Holding a blue plastic cup filled with instant coffee in my hands, I sit across from Gana and listen to him tell his life story.

He spent his childhood with his grandparents in western Mongolia. Growing up as a nomad boy, through his modesty, perhaps also through the difficult moments he went through, he has become the lovable and friendly person he is at the age of 43. He strives to do good every day: «Through the blessing and sacrifice I show my respect for animals, my fellow human beings and nature, wish them all the best and show my gratitude. This gives me satisfaction, peace and quiet, and I can expect a good fortune. "

I often watch Gana as he hurls part of the first boiled, salted milk tea towards the sky in front of the yurt in the morning - thanks to Mother Nature, for example for the welfare of his animals: «I thank my horses for the harsh, cold winter survived so well. That nature provides them with enough food and that they are now strong enough to be among the fastest in traditional horse races. " In these races, Gana does not focus on the prize money. Fame, honor and above all recognition are most important to him.

Everything is recycled

The old, blue and rusty truck is a lovable pile of rust. Gana traded it for some of his most valuable horses. It not only serves as a means of transport to the horse races, it also helps in a new phase of life: from the previous winter stay on Gana's property. To do this, we heave an old engine block into the truck, which is supposed to be used as an anvil. A rusted through barrel also comes along. It will later be dug into the ground so that the upper, still entire part can be used as a waste container. I keep finding myself questioning my life. How wasteful I often live, far from here, in rich Switzerland.

It's different in Mongolia: Under the warm rays of the sun I remove the sand that served as the floor under the old yurt. This will also be used again. Nails from old, built-in boards are pulled and straightened so that they can be used again later. As a screamer, I myself throw a slightly crooked nail into the scrap iron container, often cursing.

Before I left, I had a lot of questions going through my head: What can I expect? Will Gana and I get along? Will I be able to support him? How will I tolerate the Mongolian, meat-rich food? Today I am happy that I dared the adventure. Moments like on a hike alone up to the old ruins of the former Owgon monastery remain unforgettable. Or how I was woken up early in the morning while camping in Klostertal - by howling wolves.

Anyone interested in staying with nomads in Mongolia can contact Stefan Treier: [email protected]
The organization Ger to Ger also arranges stays with nomad families in various regions of Mongolia: www.gertoger.org