Sunday, May 6, 2012

Disney Comes to Mongolia...In a Manner of Speaking!


Look what I found lying on the steppe about 200 yards away from  my ger door....awwww....

Welcome to the world Tsenger Bell...and yes, that is Blue Bell in Mongolian, well, partly in Mongolian but is also almost Tinkerbell, which seemed like a great name for a calf that at first blush seemed to have magicked herself into existence because when I first saw her, Mom was nowhere to be found.
But she did come right back when she saw me!! I found Tsenger Bell ( more or less with her mother )when she was about 15 minutes old when I was herding "our" cattle down to the water so that the horses could come and eat...as you do when you are staying in the countryside to help out the locals. Why on earth would the locals need the help of a somewhat ineffective Gadaad Hung (foreigner)?  That, as they say is a whole 'nother story!!  But I digress... It was her first calf and she wasn't sure what to do...so, I guess she decided that, seeing as the little guy wasn't getting up or doing anything interesting, she would head down to the water with the other cattle!



Yikes!!  All alone with a newborn calf on the steppe...time to call in the reinforcements!  When I gesticulated somewhat enthusiastically ( understatement!) at my friend Saraa, she could tell there was some urgency so she , in typical Mongolian style, hopped on her trusty steed and hurtled across the plain toward me. Her trusty pink, metallic, wheeled steed I might add!  Then the fun began!
It turns out that newborn calves on the steppe are in great peril and at great risk of death by ger dog....so I was assigned to stand guard while Saraa, yes, on her trusty pink steed, hurtled across the open plain to go and get help....which left me on my own having some very,. very interesting experiences with this little calf...
Horses, it turns out, are extremely curious creatures. I was very nervous that they would accidentally ( on purpose?) injure the little guy - but they were just wonderful!  Each of them in their turn, on their way in to get their feed for the morning, stopped to give a little greeting to little Tsenger Bell....

Hilling Har meet Tsenger Bell --- yes this my horse meeting "my" calf....Well, she was only actually "mine" for a few minutes...I did eventually have to give him back to his owner...
I knew when Saraa left to find the (other!) owner, that I was in a little over my moderately urban head. What I didn't know was that as part of my "Guard Person" duties I would be protecting Tsenger Bell from was thousands (well....hundreds....) of animals en route to the river for their morning drink.  The herders thought I was crazy as they came up because, what with the calf being so small (and so brown!) and not standing up, he really looked like a little lump of dirt and, until they were nearly on top of us, they thought I was just standing there in the middle of their herd gesticulating and hollering at their animals for no apparent reason.  It was pretty funny actually when they finally saw that there was a baby behind me!



And the sheep did split and go around...and then...

With a very vocal cry of "O wo wo wo, O wo wo wo" ( how you call cattle here at the end of the earth!) the owner showed up!  Well, technically, it was the owner's mother as the owner was still abed ( yes..he is a young man....)  And then began the lovely task of getting the weak little darling up on her feet and heading for home.
With a little ( read LOT) of help from her friends the calf took her first tentative steps and finally got to meet Mama..nose to nose!


Lots of ups and downs...literally...and a lot of patience from the people involved and some calf carrying as well....
..and while I was all atwitter with the excitement of it all, it looked to me like it was pretty much old hat for Grandma.
Mama and Baby both finally figured it all out...
...and we were off for about a kilometer hike across the steppe...oh, and to this point, the little gaffer has not had the chance to eat anything!  And wouldn't until he made it all the way home!

When we finally made it home and Mama was distracted by that lovely pile of fresh green hay..
..and Tsenger Bell had a little tutorial on proper sucking technique courtesy of his now arisen owner..
..the whole thing all came together! 
 What a wonderful and amazing morning it was!  Not to mention educational...which is a good thing because at the rate the cattle are dropping calves this month, I wouldn't be too surprised if it happened again!!