Communication | by Meike Becker

The boy, who helped us with the horses did not speak. Did not laugh. He was more the quiet type. Most of the time he seemed annoyed. When Christina, Susi and I who studied at the same university went to Mongolia we thought it was going to be easy. We had hoped there would be horses for us to use every day for work. Also, we thought there would be people happy to help. We expected easy work and a simple lifestyle. Pretty naïve.

We planned on staying for two months in Mongolia. We wanted to collect data with a drone for a Masters thesis in “International Nature Conservation”. Actually, everything was about this small electrical device. We wanted to fly it high above the mountains and the Taiga of northern Mongolia to take pictures of the ground, looking for a species of Endangered Red Deer.

After our arrival we knew that nothing would be as expected. The work was much harder than we thought due to strong winds and freezing cold nights. The rocky terrain was hard to walk on. There was no reception, no electricity, no words to communicate with the people surrounding us because they only spoke Mongolian.

The boy’s name was Irhimbayer. He was the same age as me. Every morning his silhouette would appear at the river with three horses by his side. He was the best rider I have ever seen. As mentioned earlier, most of the time he would stay quiet watching what “those weird German girls” would do. Only when situations became serious, he would help, still without saying a word or faking a smile.

I had mixed feelings. I wanted to tell him so badly that I am highly impressed by everything he does, by the lifestyle he was living and that I am jealous in a way of his life in Mongolia’s wilderness. It annoyed me that I could not express myself because I just did not know the words.

Then I remember the day our project came to an end. That day was maybe the worst I ever had. It was very cold and the area we had to go was the most inhospitable region we ever went to.

First, we feared for our lives, then we lost each other on the mountain (don’t worry, we connected later again) and at the end of the day we lost the drone. It got caught in strong winds and was never seen again.

I do not know what happened to Irhimbayer while we were gone. Usually he would just lie on his self-made bed of saddlecloths and nap until we got back. On this day he was extraordinarily happy. Maybe he knew somehow that we had a tough time in the moment we came down the mountain, without the drone and looking pretty upset. We knew our time in Mongolia‘s wilderness had ended with this loss.

The ride back on the wild and beautiful Mongolian horses would be the last time we would have this experience. Still it was one of the most magical moments in my life: it was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, after weeks of cold and cloudy weather.

Our way back to the hut would take us along the valley next to the clear water of the river, surrounded by mountains. The whole valley had come into blossom and everywhere we looked there were yellow and white flowers on the ground creeping up the slopes. It was pure beauty.

Then Irhimbayer started singing. In Mongolia there is the saying that horses go faster when the riders sing. Soon, we were all singing some sentimental songs. As we did not know a song which laments the loss of a drone, Christina and I would just sing songs like, “Show must go on” and “Time to say goodbye”.

Obviously, Irhimbayer did not now these songs. Only Christina and I could sing along. I really wanted to find something we could all sing together. So, I just tried with “Last Christmas” and lo and behold, he actually knew the song.

First, he just laughed and turned around in his colourful Mongolian saddle. Then he joined in, not knowing the words but he still knew the melody, which was enough. And there we were, in the middle of nowhere, chasing through the beautiful valley with all those colours and wild flowers, shouting out this Christmas song all together in the beginning of spring because it was the only and the best way of communication between our different languages.

I never thought “Wham!” could connect the world in this way. In this moment I felt nothing but bliss. The loss of the drone didn’t matter anymore…

About the Entry

  • Blogger name | Meike Becker
  • Site name | Meikeunterwegs
  • Site
  • Instagram | @meikeunterwegs
  • Why should someone visit your site? On my site I am telling stories not only reports. When I am travelling I find places that will touch my heart in many different ways. Sometimes these feelings get so strong that I have ro tell the world about it and share.
  • Entry Number | 49

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