Wednesday, July 6, 2011

“And all I wanted was the simple things, a simple kind of life.”–Gwen Stefani

By our third day of operating, we managed to rig one “color” monitor. Subtle shades of pink and pale green added enough variation in our visualization and we were able to make slow progress with our teaching. We finished three cases and had plans to see JQ off with a trip to the countryside and a dinner with the hospital staff.

I have witnessed nothing as simple as the life of the Mongolian people. Today we visited a ger. Driving in an old Russian van over dirt roads we joked about the practicalities of having an address and the comedy of attempting to give friends directions to your house, but when we arrived, the silence, serenity and vastness of the landscape made sense. Silence, and space, beauty and peace – sweet peace.

The landscape is tree-less pasture as far as one can see. There are rolling hills, and mountains, in soothing shades of green and purples. The sky is vast and expressive. Clouds shift in the wind, slowly. The silence is hypnotizing and the simplicity is beautiful.

These people raise sheep, goats, horses. They make yogurt, and cheese, and fermented goats milk alcohol. Dung fires heat their small homes and cook their meals. The wear heavy “deels” covering their whole body and tied at the waist with a thick wrap. Simple.

As we watched the family milk their sheep, we began to hear distant bleating. The tethered ewes became restless and started returning the calls. Slowly, the volume increased and the energy seemed to change. There was an urgency. We watched as a herder on horse back lead the lambs toward us. The ewes were untied and the cacophony came to a crescendo as the lambs ran to their mothers to feed. No wasted movements, all fluid and grace. Such a simple moment, so amazing to witness with all its sound and motion.

“a simple kind of life …

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