Friday, August 28, 2009

Guillermo

by Mark

I titled this post “Guillermo” after the gentleman I met this morning. As you may know I work part-time for Mercy Corps here in Mongolia (the other part of my work is for an off-shoot NGO named “Knowledge Network” whose address is just upstairs from Mercy Corps). As I entered the workplace this morning, I overheard English being spoken…and not English with a Mongolian accent. Instead, it was English coming from an Argentinean man. Why not wander over and introduce myself?

Meet Guillermo. He has a passion for helping those in need, wanting nothing in return other than assistance getting from one place to the next. How he ended up in Mongolia I have no idea. However, he is connected to the “Mongol Rally” – you can find information on this all over the Net. He started an organization called “The Messengers” and from what I understand they deliver goods to organizations that work with children and the disabled. He attempts to get items that might otherwise be thrown out, and delivers them to developing countries. That is the mission of his organization. And I must say, his rig is quite impressive (see video below). He lives out of, and delivers goods out of, his ambulance. I was quite impressed. The entire vehicle is covered in Spanish text and Mongol Rally stickers…and he was in Tsetserleg simply to have his front bumper repaired.

He came to Mercy Corps because, well because, Mercy Corps actually found him first. The other night on the drive in, one of the trainers for this Mercy Corps conference being held in Tsetserleg saw the vehicle in the distance, recognized the Mongol Rally logo, and stopped to say hi. Guillermo explains the situation leading up to their meeting like this:

“I was setting up camp about 25 kilometers out of town when the first of three guys rode up on a horse. He asked if I could take a picture of him, and I did. He offered me some dairy products and went on his way after looking at his image in the camera. Then a second guy showed up on horseback and did the exact same thing. A couple of hours later a third guy rode up and asked if I’d take his picture, I did, and then he motioned that he’d like to take my picture. I said I didn’t need a picture of myself and so the guy motioned that he’d like to see himself in the camera. As soon as I handed over the camera, he kicked his horse to get it going, and I dove after my camera. I managed to pull the guy down off the horse and we wrestled around for a minute before he held up the camera for me to take back.”

I looked at Guillermo in shock. And he continued “I was still shaking when the Mercy Corps jeep arrived”.

I wish him the best of luck as he continues on his trek to find people who need the items he’s hauling around. I know he’s heading south, hearing about the possibility there are more disadvantaged children closer to the Gobi. This video shows a quick shot of the ambulance, Guillermo in a brown jacket, a man in a white shirt and black jacket (my Mercy Corps director), a woman (the Mercy Corps conference trainer), and a man in a striped shirt that is the hired Mercy Corps driver.


video

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