Home is where the heart is: Samuele Maniscalco is from Italy, studied in Berlin and worked the last weeks in Sukhbataar in Northern Mongolia to help us to set-up our next learning center. In this blogpost he writes about this time and his concept of “home”.
Last April, a few hours after subletting my Master thesis in General Linguistics at the University in Berlin, I booked a one-way flight to Mongolia with no clear idea what I would have done there. Just a short foreword: my name is Samuele, I was born 28 years ago in Italy and I have a problem: I feel home a bit everywhere, as long as I keep moving. So this time I decided to go and see those people who carry their houses on the shoulder whenever they move, a bit like snails do: the nomads of Mongolia. I thought, you know, there could be something useful to learn. So, let’s be clear about this: I didn’t aim to travel in search for myself or chasing the meaning of life, I simply wanted to experience another meaning of “home”.
I wandered for two months across the plain beauty of Mongolia, meeting nomads, disassembling and reassembling gers, moving herds and forgetting time. But time didn’t forget about me, so I realized at once that I needed to find a job in order to extend my visa as well as my happiness. Since jobs always involve time and money (both of which I was trying to disregard), I opted for volunteering and thought that dusting off my language skills might have been a good idea – and it really was. With the help of the volunteering section of the UN in Ulaanbaatar, I was quickly put in contact with BOOKBRIDGE and a good coffee with Amar was enough to enthusiastically accept the deal.
I worked one month in Sukhbaatar, in the northern province of Selenge, providing support to Lazzet with the preparation of a new learning center that will be opened there soon.
Every day we sorted out suiting learning material for English language teaching and established a lesson planning according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). At the same time, I provided English lessons to the members of the library, within which the Learning Center will be located.
The engagement and motivation of Lazzet as well as the library’s staff made both my tasks pleasant and challenging. It would be hard for me to tell apart between the working context and the human relationships: everything seemed to be entangled with the overall result of an extraordinary well-being feeling. I am very thankful to Amar, Tunga and Lazzet for having been a family to me and for their kind help at every step of my long walk. Thus, once again, I felt home.