We first visited Mongolia in 1993, when the long lasting friendship of our two families began.  My husband was working as a consultant to Mongolia’s Ministry of Nature and Environment, and I took vacation time to tag along to a new place.

As it happened, I ended up working too – it’s an odd feather in my cap (and a much longer story) that I helped a Mongolian entrepreneur establish the first email “feed” to that country.  We used those first e-mail messages out of Mongolia to ask ELAW colleagues about laws that regulate grazing in their countries, among other things.

Our in-country liaison – the convener of the seminar to develop Mongolia’s General Environmental Law – was Enkhbat, now the Director of Science and Technology for Mongolia’s Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism.  We hit it off, and we stayed in touch.

In 1999, Enkhbat brought his wife and children to Eugene to live for two years while he completed a Masters degree in Environmental Studies at the University of Oregon.  Our families grew very close over many trips around Oregon – from the high desert to the sea.  Since then, Enkhbat’s  daughters Undarmaa and Bolormaa each lived with us for a year while studying in U.S. schools.

Eight years had passed since we were all together and we decided it was time for a new shared adventure.  This summer our families converged on Ulaanbaatar – their kids from Universities in Cuba, Poland, and the U.S. , and our family from Eugene.   And so the adventure began.

In my next post, you will find tales from 2,000 kilometers crossed, and encounters with camels, lakes, wildflowers, good food, and culture.

Lori Maddox
ELAW Associate Director