washing day

I lived on the right hand side of the ger in Yarmag where the women traditionally live. Its where the kitchen area is, just behind me in the bright orange cupboard. That’s where we stored our food and cups and bowls and utenstils. To the right, the big blue container houses our water that we collected from the local well. To the left of the water is a squat round basin that we washed our dishes in, and occasionally our clothes and bodies.

Most of the time we took our washing downtown to a guesthouse where we also luxuriated in a hot shower, never quite able to scrub the black coal dust from our hands or neckline. The door of the ger stove opened to the right side of the ger so the women could stoke it and cook on it… and get up at 3 in the morning when the fire had gone out and it was -40C outside. My fellow ger dwelling pal Jennie also did her share of fire stoking, she just had further to shuffle from her side of the ger on cold crisp mornings.

So, this is a picture of washing day which you can see hanging from the ceiling rafters on the left above my couch-bed. And here I am, freshly scrubbed from my monthly shower, hands covered in coal dust again, as I feed the little black nuggets of warmth into our stove. Ah, bliss!

kell at fire


my bed

Over a long Mongolian winter my couch/bed and I became the very best of friends, snuggling into each other as the winds howled outside and the dogs hid from drifts of snow.

So here’s a sneaky peak into my winter bed setup in the Yarmag ger. There were many layers to keeping warm including a wonderful black satin, fur-lined del. It was all rolled up in the morning and stashed away so the bed became a comfy couch again.

kell's bed

So clever and versatile, the very best in ‘tiny house’ living!

my bed

welcome to Yarmag

Ucka, my Mongolian mother

I lived a ger in Yarmag for nine months over 2004-2005 (including winter) with my hitch hiking pal Jennie.

We bought our ger from the Black Market (Naran Tuul Zac) and built it in the hasha (yard) of a friend’s family.

We had no running water or electricity, collected well water from down the street and bought coal and wood to help look after our three dogs and horse.

It was hard and tough, and rewarding and invigorating. It made you appreciate the people around you and all the little things you usually take for granted.

Our friend’s mother became our Mongolian mother – our Mongol eej.