While I was traveling and working around Western and Central Mongolia this past November, an AMAZING think happened while I was away. I got a new wood stove for my ger. Before coming to Mongolia I would have never imagined being so excited for a new stove but times are changing. I was worried about my old stove because my ger was hard to heat and virtually impossible to get HOT. This is pretty strange in a ger with volunteers reporting record highs of 120 F inside their ger with enough wood. So when my friend Narangarav called and told me her Mom had bought me a new stove, I literally jumped for joy. When I found out that I had received one of the new energy efficient stoves the Millennium Challenge is selling to Ulaanbaatar residents at a subsidized price, I was ecstatic. To be honest, I really didn’t believe it at first. How could I have gotten so lucky? However, true to her word, I found a new “Ulzii” model stove waiting for me when I returned to Dundgobi.
The stove is tall, rectangular, and looks like it is from the future compared to other stoves here. It has levers that shake used soot to the bottom, a lever to decrease the amount of heat released (good for closing when you leave, sleep, or anytime the fire is roaring), and a small rotating trap door that aids in air flow and lets you check on the status of your fire. Finally, it pretty much just looks badass. I’m still getting used to building fires from the top but when I get a system down the stove is meant to decrease my smoke production by 90%, fuel use by 25%, and generally reduce the amount of time I have to pay attention to my stove. Now if I can only get my dog to chop wood and break coal into manageable sizes… Warm holiday wishes from Mongolia. Christmas has come early for me! As Mongolians say, I hope you all are wintering well!