This post is a retrospective. The setting is the soum I lived in as a Peace Corps volunteer. It was in Tarialan soum, Khuvsgol Aimag. It was during my second winter at that site that my school director, Batchuluun, decided not to give me my winter firewood. Not so important aside from the fact that I lived in a ger. I needed said firewood to warm my home and cook my meals. Batchuluun might be translated as Strong Rock or stone. He was sore at me because the previous year he had asked me if Peace Corps could donate $4000 to the school. I knew that Peace Corps doesn't just hand out money in the form of a blank check. They usually want some sort of tangible asset to be attached such as computers or some sort of project helping peoples Health such as AIDS education. I made a show of filling out the appropriate forms to get a blank check of the above mentioned amount but Peace Corps did not agree. So upon being notified of being denied he fired me. I told him in Mongolian "You can't do that; only Peace Corps Mongolia can fire me. You need a better reason." So during the fall and early winter my hasha family and I were able to make wood supply from the previous year last a little while longer. My hasha family needed firewood too. After all the only person living in my ger was me. My hasha family consisted of Elhagvaocher, Urnaa, Damdinsuren, and Saikhnaa who at that time was 1 year old. I had told him several times that I need my firewood and that it is the contract he has with Peace Corps. Serdamba and Elhagvaocher told him that I need my firewood too. He said contracts don't matter. So it was late December and I was to the point where I would get up some mornings; get dressed in my warm clothing and walk around the soum to acquire random pieces of wood. For example, if I saw a board partially detached from someone's hasha, I'd rip it off. One time I took the whole western entry to the school grounds. I just made off with the whole door. It measured about 2 meters in lenghth and were made of boards that were more or less 7 feet tall. So it was some good firewood. Batchuluun was too cheap to get a new door made so they just fixed up the old one. It would maybe stay up for 1 week and then they'd have to fix it again. This in turn made it easier for drunks to enter the school grounds and fall asleep on the school doorstep in a drunkan stupor. So I noticed after school one day that it was broken again. So I got up at 3 a.m. walked to school with an a pry bar and some rope and brought it home. that door provided firewood for sometime. After that the school received a new shipment of computers. One day Batchuluu asked me if I could translate something because he doesn't understand technical English. I don't know what the distinction was; he doesn't even know basic English. I looked at the instruction manual he was showing me. The title on the page read: How to change the toner cartridge. I didn't even need to read it. I was able to follow the arrows and was familar enough with toner cartridges to know what to do. Instead I told him that I have forgotten technical English. He became angry and asked Serdamba and the other English teacher Irekhbuyan. They both told him they also don't know techie English. So he asked me again. I told him as soon as I have my firewood, it'll probably come back. Just a gut feeling. The next morning a huge truck showed up with about 15 logs. So I paid for it and got a receipt so that I could get reimbursed from Peace Corps. That afternoon a class from school showed up and cut and sawed about 1/3 of the wood. The day after that I went to school changed the toner cartridge on the printer and "translated" the instruction manual.
I found a cure for my self-induced amnesia.