My Voice of Love and Experience of Misery ~ Chris
I went to Mongolia with World Vision Canada. It felt like a travel in the outer space to
a planet unknown to mankind or a journey back in time to the ancient land of Chinghis Khan.
However, I did not come across any red soil found on Mars or any residual from the glorious
battles fought by the khans. After hours and hours of drive on bumpy roads, all I could see
was endless grassland. To a person like me from a modernized city, it is curious to know how
people live in a country known among the foreigners 'The Land of Blue Sky'.
It was though frighteningly surprising to find out people still living in such a
miserable place. Living standard in most part of Mongolia seems frozen since the era of
the Mongol Empire built in the 12th Century. Generally speaking, there is no clean water
supply, no electricity, no toilet, and no bathroom. It is not a place for people like you
or I can live and survive.
With the exception of a small group of 'rich people' living in the capital
(Ulaanbaatar), most of the population in Mongolia (about 3 millions) live in poverty.
Their daily living is not just 100 years, but 200 or even 300 years lagged behind ours.
This is not an exaggeration or denunciation but an undeniable reality. Could you imagine
a 12-year old boy doing homework with a candle in a wobbly shed, while you could comfortably
surf the worldwide web on a computer? Could you imagine a 6-year old girl carrying a bucket
of water for an hour walk everyday (rain or shine) for her whole family, while you could
soothingly enjoy an aromatic bubble bath in a jetted tub? Could you imagine a 2-year old
kid with bow legs suffering from 'rickets' due to malnutrition, while you could liberally
hop among the buffet tables with your loved ones? Could you imagine a family of six
living with hundreds of flies in a torn 'Ger' on a smelly dumpsite, while you could
effortlessly buy more furniture for your luxurious home? These various kinds of
day-&-night disparity are numerous in Mongolia. When unbelievable absurdity becomes
indisputable cruelty, I wonder what I could do.
During my visit in Mongolia, I saw with my naked eyes seemingly irrational,
but definitely heart-broken real-life stories. I also witnessed how World Vision partners
helped develop the community. They were subtly telling me that sorrow could be turned into
energy. Rome was not built in a day.
Similarly, an underdeveloped third-world country like Mongolia could not be changed
overnight. To me, this widely unpopulated grassland is not a paradise you travel freely but
a dead-end lane fenced by ranges of mountains. I don't know how Chinghis Khan would feel,
if he saw his descendants about 800 years after his Yuan Dynasty still miserably migrating
over the same grassland and exposing themselves to undesirable elements. I just admire
those individuals who generously offer their best effort to help the children get away from
this dead-end lane.
Life is fair. The harder you work, the more you earn. Life is also unfair.
A lot of people around the world could not even get an opportunity to work harder.
Opportunity to them is a luxury. Basic necessities like water, electricity and washroom ... education institutions, medical services and occupational training ... are like unreachable
targets to them. If we don't want these unachievable goals remain a fruitless talk or an
impossible dream, we need to hold on to a lasting belief that tomorrow will be a better
day and we can all 'Make a Difference'.
During this 'Journey' production expedition in Mongolia, we were taken care of by Justin Douglass, a frontline World Vision worker from South Africa. Our casual conversations with Justin impressed me deeply. He said, "I was raised in a farm. I love nature and animals. After I grew up, I found it much more meaningful to help the people in need. It is tough to work in such an environment. Yet, it is highly rewarding and satisfying when I could help those children and spot those lovely smiles on their faces."
In the last six years, Justin has been running around and helping the families in need. In comparison, my two-week mission was nothing. It would be my honour, if my trivial participation could make a difference in someone's life.