Katieholder’s Blog

TOT (Training of Trainers)

I realize that I haven’t posted a blog in a few weeks, but I promise that I have a good reason. I’ve been in UB working my butt off trying to get the CED sector ready for the new trainees (M21’s). We only had one day off during the whole 14 day circus and we worked approximately 12 hour days every single day.

I got to UB on Sunday, May 23rd and arrived at my apartment where I would be rooming with Amber Barger (M19, CED), Zaneta Balenta (M19, Health) and Julie Tate (M20, Health). We had a 2 room apartment with a shower, balconey, kitchen and 2 couches. The bedroom had a bed in it and some room on the floor for me to sleep. Many times, sleeping on a carpeted floor in a sleeping bag is preferable to sleeping on a “bed”.  I use quotation marks here because many of the things that pass for beds here actually feel like a mixture of plywood and concrete with a sheet on top.

Sleeping on a carpeted floor is sometimes a blessing.

Amber and Zaneta each brought their cats (Kitty Boo and Holly) to the apartment as well which made me miss Big C. But, after restraining myself from strangling the cats (one peed on my backpack and both were awake at the crack of dawn each morning meowing at the birds outside our windows), I was glad I left C at home.

The first week of TOT was devoted to learning how to be a good trainer/facilitator, practice “experiential learning” and mapping out the training sessions. Fortunately for CED, the M20 trainers had begun reformatting the training sessions to include more “experiences” so all we had to do was build on that and tighten the schedule. Amber, Mark and I worked well together and developed our sessions as a team along with our Technical coordinator Baigal.

For those of you who know how I work, To Do lists are my sanity savers. I feel like just making a list gets me calmer and checking things off gives me energy to tackle the next project. That’s how we worked. At the beginning of each work session, we would make a list of what needed to be accomplished and either worked individually or as a team to accomplish these tasks.

Saturday, July 29th, Health and CED trainers went to Zuun Mod (my training site last summer) to do a training panel for host families that would show them common situations that they might encounter with their PC trainee. We also split up into groups of 2-3 to talk to groups of host families about any concerns they had. The families were really great and seemed really concerned about making their trainee feel at home. We were asked questions about good first foods to give to the trainees in order to make them not get sick, games to play, skills to teach, how to help them learn Mongolian and many other things. In my group, there was an owoo (grandfather) who was the most talkative and asked great questions. He took notes, not in Cyrillic, but in the ancient Mongolian script that is rarely used anymore.

The next day, we went back to Zuun Mod to do housing checks on the accommodations each of the families’ had set up for their trainee. The homes were very nice and we only had to make a few recommendations overall. I was thrilled to see the owoo again and learned that he was 82 and lived with his daughter who was the director of the local Chamber of Commerce.

We finished the housing checks and headed back to UB to prepare for the next day’s team building sessions in Tereljch. Tereljch is a beautiful national park outside of UB with rivers and streams, groves and mountains. We arrived, ate lunch and began our activities. By this time, the whole group was pretty exhausted and just wanted to lay around like bumps on a log (including me), but by the end of the first game, we had gotten our energy back and were ready to compete.

By the end of the day, we were again exhausted and used some of our free time to wade in the nearby stream of freezing cold water to cool ourselves off. Of course, I got a bad sunburn and was pretty useless by the end of the day.

Tuesday was National Children’s day, so all of PC had the day off and we took the opportunity to go back to Zuun Mod and have a hoorhog (outdoor barbeque) with Jocelyn and some of her co-workers. We all brought a type of salad or dessert. Jocelyn’s co-workers bought a sheep, killed it and cut up the meat somewhere in the city and brought it out to the field where we were sitting. They threw the meat into a metal bbq thing with some potatoes and carrots and started cooking. After a few hours and a water balloon fight, the meat was finished and we all dug in. Usually, I’m not a big fan of mutton (sheep meat), but hoorhog meat is different since it has that bbq wood fire taste. They didn’t have the intestines cooked (w/ blood inside) because I’m sure Jocelyn told them that none of us would be big fans of it. If you want to know what those sausages taste like, get a penny and stick it in your mouth and there you have it. Then imagine a thick gelatin substance in your mouth when you chew. That’s it.

The following day, we were back at work in the PC office trying to finish up our training sessions. By this time, Mark had left for America on vacation so it was just Amber, Baigal and myself finishing everything up.

The M21’s arrived Saturday night and there was a bunch of us to greet them at the airport. It was kind of surreal to be there again after almost a year here. I really can’t believe that I’ve been here a year. It really doesn’t feel that long. I feel like I’ve lucked out in so many ways with a great agency, great counterparts, a wonderful city, awesome sitemates and so many other things. I like UB, but I really feel at home here in Erdenet. It’s just the right size for me and the people here are great.

Soooo, that’s pretty much it for the last 2 weeks here. It’s not a very detailed account of everything, but there’s plenty of pics on Facebook for you to fill in the blanks. Oh, and I got a tattoo in UB. Ok…as always, Enjoy Your Amenities!!!

‘The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. Government or the Peace Corps.’


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