Travel Mongolia : » Australian warms the people of the Gobi
An Australian radiographer at Cairns Base Hospital in Queensland, with a childhood interest in Mongolia has turned his dream into reality and on the way become a benefactor to Mongolians living in the Gobi Desert.
And he has added icing to his cake with support for the project from Beatles member, Sir Paul McCartney.
Australian, Barry Jiggins, ‘Blankets 4 Mongolia’ project has a goal to collect and send 10 000 blankets to Gobi hospitals and hospitals run by the Mongolian Railways Red Cross Association. An ‘alliance formed with ‘The Gobi Revival Fund NGO’, will see the blankest distributed to the hospitals.
Mr Jiggins was inspired by the Beatles philosophy on how to live and help others and given 2007 is the 40th anniversary of the Beatles’ ‘Magical Mystery Tour’, he contacted Sir Paul’s McCartney’s office to let them know about the project. He also told them how the Beatles were held is such high esteem in Mongolia and received endorsement from one of the famous four for the project.
Mr Jiggins was touched by the hardships faced by nomadic communities and the large loss of livestock during the period of Zud (severe drought in 2000) on his visits to Mongolia in August to September 2003 and October to ‘ November 2006. He learned about the Gobi’s extreme cold and the lack of blankets and electricity in Gobi hospitals. He discovered that people who had much to complain about showed no anger – and instead he found kindness, generosity and stoicism in bountiful supplies.
His respect and love for the people of Mongolia was nurtured by his experiences across the Gobi Desert in the company of his friends from Mongol Khan Expeditions, Bodio and Monkhtuya. He said, “When I returned home, it was my turn to imagine a better Mongolia.”
In November this year, a bus will travel down,}he Queensland coast in Australia’s far north, from Cairns to Brisbane, collecting new and quality blankets from schools, community groups and others who may be in a position to help. A website will track the progress of the project and highlight pictures from the delivery phase in 2008.
Mr Jiggins said the contribution from the Beatles was testament to their work as musicians and advocates for love and laughter. He said, “Their collective wit, wisdom and wizardry set hearts and minds free and ensured no toe would be spared a tapping within an inch of its life. In short they taught us to be interested and interesting.”
As a special thrill, and to further demonstrate that the Beatles’ magic resonates forever, ‘Ms Yoko Ono, widow of John Lennon sent Mr Jiggins 5000 ‘Imagine Peace’ badges to be handed out to schoolchildren who donate blankets to the collection. “Blankets 4 Mongolia” is Mr Jiggins’ fourth charity project.
Information about the project can be located on www. blankets4mongolia.com. and
information about the ‘Gobi Revival Fund’ on http://www.mongolkhan.com.
The Mongol Messenger 36/842