Mongolian Assignment 5
Spent some more time with Munkhbat (15) & Altangeret (15) today. They are quite shy despite the front they have to put on to survive the extremely tough conditions they live in. They have been a bit reluctant to talk about their lives but after playing pool together tonight they have agreed to meet again in the morning to chat. We left the pool hall in a freezing snow storm and then they just disappeared underground out of sight and out of mind of the vast majority of the population. Just before leaving they told me they had been harassed and beaten by a local man for talking to a foreigner about their situation…then they told my interpreter they were robbed of the $10 I gave them for food by other street kids..a violent, tough, lonely existence…we have arranged to meet in a safer location in the morning.
Munkhbat (15) & Altangeret (15) check out a rubbish shed. By collecting used bottles and anything else sellable they are able to buy just enough food for the day.
Munkhbat (15) & Altangeret (15) look for bottles in a rubbish shed. This earns them just enough to buy food each day if they are lucky. Often other people take the best items leaving them without any income.
Altangeret (15) continues his search for empty bottles to sell to get by each day.
Munkhbat (15) & Altangeret (15) get some sleep in. Despite the freezing temperatures outside, the manholes can become unbearably hot inside. The favoured position is just above the entrance allowing cool air to drift in.
Munkhbat (15) & Altangeret (15) run from rubbish dump to bin in search of sellable items in the local area spending as little time outside in the freezing conditions as possible.
Altangeret (15) cues up and Munkhbat (15) watches as they play pool. One of the few escapes from their reality of living on the streets. Costing a $1 an hour not only do they have fun but keep warm.
Munkhbat (15) & Altangeret (15) run back to their manhole through a freezing snow storm after another day on the streets.
Another day over, Altangeret (15) & Munkhbat (15) lower themselves into their manhole during a snowstorm.