Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Alive and well in UB

Hi Everybody
The following is mostly for my family and friends but I know, due to the nature of the internet, it's really available for all to see.

First, my apologies; the time difference and my schedule here makes it difficult for me to keep up with all your e-mails and best wishes. It's been tough enough trying to connect by Skype with Rosi (love you sweety!) and I just haven`t been able to stay on top of the rest of my e-mails etc.

I wish I could tell you that I`ve been travelling the Mongolian countryside, riding camels, visiting ger`s and sampling Yak`s milk, but it wouldn`t be true. That`s NOT to say that I haven`t explored a little of Ulaanbaatar and that I`m not soaking up as much Mongolian culture as I can but it`s nowhere near the hardship some would think. Exotic and different- absolutely - but hardship travel, hardly.

This week my days consist of getting up around 6:30, making my way to breakfast around 7:00 or so, comparing notes with the other members of the team and maybe laying out a game plan with Scott, my partner and then walking the six blocks or so to the office where we`re working.

But Oh, what work.......it`s hard to believe but we`re working with everyday ordinary people trying to do their best in a hard thankless job as they lay the ground work for what could develop into a robust healthy credit union nationwide system. This week we`re offering our advice - and even more difficult for me to believe sometimes - they`re taking it - on how to structure a Stabilization Fund, a Deposit Insurance Corporation, Liquidity Shares and an overall approach to developing a Mongolian Central Credit Union.

I know as you read this it`s hard not to think yadda yadda yadda but that`s from a position of comfort and more important, stability. When you go to the bank you just know: your deposits are safe, your cheques will clear and the world will turn. And you know what, 50% of Mongolian`s have the same comfort. They drive nice cars, use the same ATM you do and go about their day to day lives with the same fears, worries and goals as the rest of us. But for the rest, it`s not so comfortable. They may or may not have a crop this year, a herd this fall or a meal this evening. And for these people a cooperative is often the answer. All of a sudden the Hands and Globe logo takes on a whole new meaning. It`s no longer just lip service or a nice pen when you sign a form; it`s the difference between subsistence and prospering, a hand up rather than a hand out and it`s being part of a worldwide movement designed to help those that help themselves - and I`ve never been more proud and more pleased to be part of it.

What we`re doing here is small, and may not matter in the long run, but action beats inaction and moving forward, even if in spurts, is better than the alternative.

As for me, all is well. I`m taking antibiotics and I`m feeling much better and `the longer I stay in UB the more I like it.

Take care

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