July 4th and Dodgeball

Thanks to the hard work of our Peace Corps Volunteer Leaders (PCVLs), Language and Cultural Facilitators (LCFs), Peace Corps Trainers and Administrative Staff, we were all able to enjoy a really wonderful 4th of July on our last day in Darkhan. After our last class session on Friday, we were all taken to a nearby gymnasium where they had prepared hamburgers, hotdogs, watermelon, pizza, and soft drinks for all of us. It’s hard to imagine, unless you’ve been in a country like Mongolia for a month, but these kinds of foods were an incredible thing to see and taste. The hamburgers weren’t beef and the pizza wasn’t exactly American-style, but they still tasted great and were obviously the best that our friends could do for us.

After our dinner we all began the dodgeball tournament that we had signed up for the day before. All of us, the Volunteer Trainees, went up against our teachers (LCFs, PCVLs) and Trainers, in teams of 12. We had a ton of fun from round to round and then in the end had an everyone-against-everyone game where we pitted 50+ Trainees against 50+ Teachers and Trainers. There were incredible saves, plenty of balls in the face and several hilarious moments that I think we will all remember for a long time. Next year I know several of us will be back to play on the dark side, pitted against the M20 Trainees as they go through Mid-Service Training as well.

After the tournament was over and everyone began to leave, a couple of us stayed behind to play basketball in the gym during the remaining time which Peace Corps had reserved that evening. It was a 4-on-4 game between Tom, Matt, Chris, Trinh, Rich, Garrett, Nathan and myself and by the end of it we were all sweating buckets. It was a great feeling to have an hour in a nice gym all to ourselves.

So, all in all, because of the work of many people we were all able to enjoy a very nice July 4th here in Mongolia. We may not have had fireworks, but I think we all felt very lucky and very proud to be here serving as Volunteers. Thanks again to all of the Peace Corps staff that made this possible for us.