I woke up today feeling as if I was on top of the world. One of my major projects was successfully completed. My most perfect and beautiful angel of a companion had safely returned home to be with her family and friends and the weather was beautiful in Gobi-Altai.
I embraced all of these facts and went on a hike, which was amazing as always. To hear the silence that the world should be was beautiful and as always completely captured my attention.
After this extraordinary spring/summer day I decided to head home and with an American friend have a drink. And how quickly did this turn into a day I would never forget, I’m sure for the remainder of my life.
I should explain that Brit and I live with a family. In that family there is an adult supervisor, which is our landlords direct brother. He watches over the children, mainly the 2-year-old infant.
So, we returned to my apartment and opened a bottle of vodka with a mixer after our lengthy hike. While this bottle was being drank the house/child keeper stopped by. He of coursed noticed we were drinking and proposed the idea of buying a bottle and us drinking it together. This being completely acceptable in Mongolia we said yes. Not to mention the day prior it was his birthday.
Needless to say my site mate and I allowed this to happen, deeming it culturally acceptable. It turned out that after only 3 shots of vodka this person was absolutely and completely inebriated with a baby in his arms. We both noticed this and put a cap on the unfinished bottle.
I took the baby from his arms and tried my best to care of her and make her happy. Naturally, the child was yearning for it’s caretaker, I never gave her back to him, but did my best to entertain the infant and try to make the situation slide by.
I felt it was time to send the caretaker home, after he stood and fell into my wall I knew I could not leave him with this child alone. I left my apartment, baby in my arms and inebriated man behind me, stumbling to his doorstep.
Bouncing the child and singing to her I tried my best to make her comfortable and happy, but one of the people she trusted and loved most was stumbling to his doorstep and could barely unlock the door into the home, which she knew best.
I stood bouncing and singing to the infant the only way I knew, hoping to please and remove her mind from hunger and a need for her home, simply waiting for the drunk man to open the door and allow me to please the child with the comfort and recognition of her sanctuary.
After we entered the home I had to fight the caretaker for the child, he wanted to take her in and leave me behind. I could not do this and insisted that before I gave her to him he must be at least seated. After he was seated and I turned the TV on I gave her to him. She found comfort in his arms. I sat by watching and consoling both the child and caretaker, trying to balance the situation as best I could.
At this exact moment I knew I would never forget for my entire life the predicament that I was in.
This exact moment and the situation prior had and will haunt me for the remainder of my life. I knew in my soul, in my ‘heart’ what should have been done, but because of what I had been taught, because of what I had learned about the culture, I should let things go (as far as drinking). I fought my natural urges to follow the ‘natural law’ or status quo.
(This is the lesson that should be learned, shall We follow the status quo or follow what we know is right?)
I stayed with the two until the infant was nearly asleep. I made sure she had her bottle, which at times I watched the caretaker drink from. At this point he received a call from someone, following this call tears ran from his eyes as the infant cried her self to sleep.
I left and went to my connected apartment to be with my American friend. As I was telling him of the situation, I noticed the Mother and younger brother sprinting to their home. I, of course knew why.
I am speechless and bewildered at my actions today. I try and try to be the best person I can be for humanity. But, situations sneak up on me. Yes, to the common person this may seem like an obvious answer, but in Mongolia what happened was perfectly acceptable. Is this an excuse, I suppose for the standard which I hope to hold myself to, yes.
Today, I failed. And I will guarantee that I will remember this day for the rest of my life. I can’t put into words the many emotions, which it sparks within me. Personally and regarding human kind and sociological matters,
I am sorry.
I love and miss you Brittany.