Because Mongolia is a relatively new area in which World Vision is working there is a lot of interest in our involvement here, especially the Street children's projects. Media people from many different countries visit and like to be shown the different areas we work in to take pictures, videos and stories of the plight of the children on the streets and the work World Vision is doing with them.
Of course we can use all the good publicity we can get. The more people are made aware of the problems the more they are willing to donate, therefore the more children we can help.
This week we have a team of 7 visitors from Hong Kong, comprised of 3 World Vision Hong Kong staff and some Hong Kong media people plus a celebrity or two looking at our projects. World Vision Hong Kong is holding its 24 Hour Famine 1st May and Mongolia will be in focus for that event.
Over the last 3 days they have visited our Lighthouse centres, and Alternative Education programmes plus a group of 8 older boys living in a tunnel. Two of the boys were unwell and we have given them medical attention and food. Three of the younger boys want to live at the Lighthouse so we will squeeze the beds closer together yet again to make room for them.
Often when we first meet them the children are hesitant to tell us much about themselves for various reasons. Thes two were no exception. For example, Gambayer turned his back when I photographed him with Tsoggerel.
Tsoggerel ,14 years, is an orphan from a small village in the countryside. He says he left his home because his brothers and sisters rejected him. Gambayar, 13 years, claims he ran away because of the beatings he received.
One way they had earned money to buy food was by helping to carry luggage at the railway station for the newly disembarked merchants who bring in goods to sell from Russia and China.
They said they had been in the city for 2 months. Their clothes were filthy and ragged and they smelt of stale urine and dirt. They had sores on their faces, which along with their hands were black with dirt and grime.
Although they were 14 years old they appeared to look only 9-10years old with the small and stunted stature typical of an impoverished and undernourished childhood that we see frequently amongst the street children.