Mongolia, 1998
A dozen people on a tour across the dry, almost flat landscape on a rutted, dirt “road”. We were looking for an open space away from family settlements in order to have a picnic lunch.

We pulled away from the rutted dirt road, found a grassy area to settle, and our tour guide brought out our lunch. As we were eating a few Mongolian horsemen quietly approached.

They made it clear that they lived in the “gers” in the distant rise of the land, and were welcoming us. They had their traditional fermented goat’s milk, Airak, that they passed around in a “welcoming” observance. Then they joined us as we offered them some of our lunch goodies.

As we were finishing, they invited us to stop at their home, at that distant rise “over there”. And we did.

We met the family, the children, their animal herds. They showed us the drying goat milk curds in a pan on the roof of the ger, and we met the daughter with the 1 month old baby, the first of the next generation.

Beverly L.

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