Thursday, September 15, 2011

An Imprisonment of Sorts

The cold weather has come and with it the winds which bite already and its not that cold - merely 40F!  The heating has not come on yet and the buildings are cold.  Our work place is cold, our apartment is chilly! There is a looming dread - the coming of winter!  You can feel it everywhere and see it in people's eyes.  There is a sort of "on edge" feeling.  People are doing more indoors.  The family above us have what sounds like 2 children!  They are indoors more now and so they are running back and forth in their apartment all day and all night.  It's getting annoying!  Our apartment building has 10 floors and many new people have moved in.  They are working on their apartments.  We hear banging in the evenings!  It must be the "winter" pastime to fix things!  The noise level has increased - the banging in the apartment building, the kids running back and forth, the buses outside and the traffic - horns blowing - people shouting! 

Today, while riding the bus home we had quite the entertainment...if you could call it that.  We got on at our stop and found a seat!  Such a pleasantry to find a seat and not fall prey to the lunatic driving these bus drivers subject us to.  Anyway, we got on and the next stop 2 men and a woman got on.  The men were obviously drunk and the woman was very unsettled.  She would sit down and then the man would come and move her somewhere else.  So there was this strange movement going on while people were coming in and going out. In the meantime a man enters the bus and stands just in front of me and starts talking. Next stop this woman is shouting at the lady who takes the money.  The lady who takes the money is brushing her off in a very forthright sort of way.  Up comes the drunk man from the back of the bus and he begins to shout and the ticket lady hits him in a brush off fashion.  He hits her back.  A fight breaks out and others have gotten involved trying to hold the guy back.  A burly policeman is on board and he hauls these two drunk men and shoves them on the floor of the bus. He is trying to haul them towards the door and thrust them out.  But a real fight is happening.  This is all just a few feet from where I am sitting. (Richard is behind me in another seat). The man who came in front of me is telling me he is so sorry - this is Mongolian life!  But in actuality he is blocking me from this fight and in a way I am being protected!  God's provision once again.  The shouting and thrusting and rolling stops the bus and the bus driver tries to help the burly policeman throw them out.  They are relentless in their shouting and fighting back. The policeman gets them to the steps of the door and is pushing but they are shouting and carrying on.  One man is out of the bus and the woman but the other man is hanging on shouting and for some reason the policeman steps back and lets him carry on.  The woman comes back in and is screaming at the ticket lady!  The bus driver turns around and takes the money from the ticket lady and hands it to the drunk man and basically says, "Get out!"  But he doesn't!  He holds on with the door open shouting but the bus driver starts to drive.  There he is hanging on shouting with the door open while the bus is moving.  Suddenly, the bus jerks to a stop and he goes flying out the door rolling on the ground.  The lady shouting jumps off the bus and tends to her man screaming in a fitful pitch!  Meanwhile, the bus driver slams the doors shut and takes off!  Everyone is relieved!  The man turns to me and says, this is the problem in Mongolia - so many drunks! "What was that all about", I asked? He said, "They wanted change and the ticket woman wouldn't give it them because they were drunk!"  I wonder if that was the real story!  Anyway, our conversation goes on and turns to America.  "Where are you from? Why are you here?" etc. etc.  But I am thinking of those people and their lives.  They were obviously poor, miserable sort of creatures with not much in life to live for.  That is the state of many of these people - they are imprisoned in many ways.  They are poor, they have little, they face the harshness of the weather, the hardness of life.  What is life but to drink and forget?  How desperate life is without God!  

The bus driver in the blue/orange vest - the girl and the drunk guy falling on the ground

The burly policeman and the bus driver trying to throw the guy out!

One guy is out you can see his hand on the lower right of the picture but the other guy is resisting!

Still trying!

This guy is holding on for dear life!  The girl is trying to escape! Guess who is snapping pictures?
 I am kind of dreading this coming winter!  I've heard some say its not been this cold in September for 14 years!  Ahhh - what does it mean?  Will we survive?  I, too, fear the imprisonment of being shut in.  I fear for those people living in the gers who have to go out and pump their water at a pumping station and haul it back to their gers so they can heat it up and wash!  I'm afraid to walk to the bus stop and get to work with that chilling temperature penetrating my innards!  And its only September!! begins.  The good thing is God is here - so it can't be all that bad!  He will be our strength and stay, I trust so!