The first expedition of Mission Manduhai to Mongolia took place from August 9-August 28, and was led by Chimgee Haltarhuu. It was a great success! Here is some statistical information on the tour:
•16 people on the
•15 days on the tour, covering 2,700km
•Approximately 80 hours of travel time (not including air travel)
•12 performances in 7 provinces for thousands of people
•1300 leaflets were handed out to audience members
The first show was performed in a nursing home in a village northeast of Ulaanbaatar for 150 senior citizens. The rest of the shows were in villages in northern Mongolia. In many cases the performances were outside to attract and involve larger audiences. At first the audience seemed a little unsure of what to expect when Chimgee and Saruul (our representative from the ) introduced the show and talked about the “For Safe Future” campaign. Then they really cheered and laughed obviously enjoying the performance. Following the show, leaflets were handed out giving information about domestic violence: what are the laws, what constitutes violence, what to do if you are being abused (including how to contact NCAV), and what you can do as a community to change the culture of violence in Mongolia. After information was passed out, many men and women wished to discuss the problem of domestic violence and expressed their gratitude to Chimgee and Saruul.
In Chimgee’s hometown of Darkhan, the troupe visited a circus studio made up of orphans and homeless children, some of them even were living in the sewers. The founder of this group, “Shonhoodi Circus”, is a former Mongolian State Circus Performer. For our show in Darkhan we included these children on our performance, and they were very thrilled and excited to be performing with an American circus. Chimgee is now a strong supporter and donor of Shonhoodoi Circus.
Mission Manduhai was unable to visit a shelter in Ulaanbaatar because one shelter was attacked by an angry abuser and they were scrambling to find a new hidden place for their safety.
Upon returning to Ulaanbaatar, Mission Manduhai rehearsed for two days in the Mongolian State Circus building along with performers from the Mongolian State Circus. On August 27, there was a performance celebrating the Radnaabazar Circus School’s 70th birthday, with the proceeds from ticket sales ($3,500) donated from Mission Manduhai directly to the Radnaabazar Circus School (the school that Chimgee graduated from). After the performance, Chimgee was surprised with a government award “Foremost Cultural Worker” from the Ministry of Culture of Mongolia.
Mission Manduhai wants to give much thanks to all of its supporters, and especially to the performers who were amazing and great at dealing with the adversity of Mongolian life. Chimgee intends to travel back to Mongolia with Mission Manduhai 2011, with a small group of health professionals to again raise awareness of domestic abuse.