Gantushig grew up with his mother and father and was the eldest of 4 brothers and sisters. His family lived in Darkhan, the third largest city in Mongolia, about 350 kilometers north of Ulaanbaatar. His father was employed as a construction engineer and he says they had a good life. He was never hungry or cold and went to school for 8 years, but when his father became unemployed things started to go wrong. Once when he was about 14yrs old and his father was away in the countryside, Gantushig stole some money.
When his father came back and found out what he had done, he beat him with his belt. Gantushig felt unloved and rejected so he ran away for good. He said his father is too harsh and would never forgive him so he couldn't go home.
He eventually ended up in the capital city, Ulaanbaatar and joined up with a group of street boys living in the 'Main Hole' under the city streets. Life was harsh on the streets and he and his friends survived by stealing, begging and breaking into 'tuuts'. These are small kiosks on the sidewalks where you can buy small items like drinks, biscuits, sweets, bread, etc. Rather like our corner dairy and an easy target for thieves.
He thought people would have mercy on them when they lived on the streets but they didn't, so he says that's why they had to steal. They would hide their 'spoils' for later consumption. One day the police found their 'cache' and caught them. He was very afraid of being sent to the detention centre. He then joined another Children's shelter and was going to learn some skills but he met an old street friend, they stole some money and went on a big adventure into the countryside hunting Marmots. Meantime his parents divorced so he lived on the streets again for a while until he joined 'Lighthouse 1'.
He enjoys all the opportunities offered here and is learning English, and plans to finish 10th grade at night school.
Just recently World Vision gave him the opportunity to work in their main office for a month under the guidance of Munktulug, a young Christian man who is our office administrator. He is also a talented musician and won the position as Mongolia's candidate for World Vision's Youth Ambassador Music Tour. Gantushig proved himself to be a very reliable worker and learnt to answer phones and photocopy as well as other useful office skills.
We hope to get him into a night computer class. Gantushig is now 17 years old and he admits his problems have all come about because he is easily led and has mixed with bad friends. Spending time in the office with Munktulug has given him a whole new vision for his future. I asked him what he would like to be now he has seen that there is another way to live and he said
"I want to be like Munktulug. I admire him as he is a kind person who speaks very nicely to everyone, does his job well and dresses very nicely. He really listens to me when I speak so I feel I am someone special. I'm glad I came to the Lighthouse ".