In the trip notes of Intrepid’s Mongolia adventures you’ll see the message to bring along anti fungal and chicken pox creams. This isn’t because we anticipate an outbreak on the trip, but because you’ll have the chance to visit a place that is close to the heart of Intrepid’s Denis Sobnakov…
“Working with Intrepid means a lot to us leaders. One of the things I admire in our travel philosophy is that we contribute in some way to all the societies we visit and they pay us back with positive energy. I humbly believe that support, however small, makes a huge difference. Take Mongolia for example. Mongolia is beautiful and wonderful land, yet sadly it also has social issues and one of the biggest problems is the high rate of abandoned kids.
Fortunately there are some generous people who help locals, like those who run Lotus Children’s Centre. And the upside of travelling with Intrepid is that suddenly a regular sunny day in Mongolia can turn into an amazing experience when you get to meet these folks!
Our group was on the way to Ananda vegetarian cafe when I got the phone call from Lotus saying everything was ready to go. After having a delicious lunch we met our Lotus guide Tsetseg, who told us about the foundation – how they came to the idea to adopt homeless and abandoned kids, how many children are in the orphanage now, the way of life of these kids, etc. She also told us that she is a former orphan and now she helps to develop the centre. Our group listened intently as Tsetseg spoke with great enthusiasm and shared her knowledge based on personal experience. Then it was time to pay a visit to one of the two Lotus summer camps.
When the children saw us coming they ran to our bus with huge welcoming smiles. We were swamped by kids wanting us to come with them and show us everything in the camp. There were about 50 children of varying ages, most of them eager to grab our attention and practise their English. It was wonderful fun talking together, playing volleyball and learning other interesting local games. Then Didi Kalika, a founder of the orphanage, showed up. She’s a legendary woman who has spent 17 years of her life helping Mongolian kids. We talked with her about almost everything and she generously shared her experiences in Mongolia.
The children prepared a mini song and dance performance for us. We sat on small benches in the middle of a meadow and they started singing. It’s amazing how talented and disciplined these young people are. 6 girls from 5 to 12 years danced almost professionally. By the end of the show, Jerome from our group took out his harmonica and started to play some Australian tunes. It was so much fun for everybody, including the kids. We all clapped and laughed and our guys sang along.
I think that day we made some very specials friends. It was music to our hearts knowing that in some way everyone is able to help those in need.”
The Intrepid Foundation – travellers making a difference
Help support Lotus Children’s Centre and other great organisations via the Intrepid Foundation, plus find out how your donation can be matched* by Intrepid Travel!
* Donations will be matched by Intrepid Travel up to AU$5000 (or equivalent) per donor and a total of AU$400,000 each financial year.