This year the Swanson Foundation partnered with SAGES Go Global (http://www.sages.org/projects/global_affairs/) on our trip to Arvairkheer. In pursuit of the common goal of teaching laparoscopic surgery in developing countries, SAGES offers the Swanson Foundation an increased network of surgeons and stronger industry connections. In addition, SAGES Go Global has organized an evaluation system used to assess the effectiveness of our teaching methods. The benefits of this relationship are obvious to both parties; but for the team this year, the biggest benefit was our time spent with JQ.
While in Mongolia, I read the book The Secret History of the Mongol Queens by Jack Weatherford. It was a fascinating insight into the powerful, bright daughters of Genghis Khan and their descendants. The daughters took control when the sons could not. The daughters found ways to learn from historic mistakes, and rebuild an empire that the sons had allowed to self-destruct into chaotic, internal conflict. It was a great, true historic tale of strong, capable women.
And then, we had our Basque queen, Jacqueline. Our fearless, capable leader helped us get lectures going, kept us fed and watered, and brought the fun along with her surveys. She insisted on taking the reigns – literally (when we went “camel riding” she made her escort leave her alone on the camel.) Thursday night we had to say goodbye as JQ headed back to the US. After our trip to the ger (see previous blog) we ended up at the local wedding palace for a team dinner, gift presentation, Mongolian flute performance, vodka toasts, and a surprise dance party (complete with flashing lights, limbo and jump rope). Surreal, yes; but all just part of a normal day in this Mongolian adventure.
It is always an honor to meet a fun, smart, capable new friend. JQ, from west side Mongolia, to west side USA – we love you!! We miss you!!
|Cody and his Mongolian wife|
|Orthopedic Hand Surgeon playing the Mongolian Flute|
|Cashmere for our Queen|
|Allison and Tuvsho - Limbo!|
|JQ and a young member of the West Siiiide Posse :)|