The Jangar Saga:
Jangar is one of the sweetest, most entertaining boys I have ever met. And I refer to him as boy or kid to constantly remind myself he's only 18, which is hard to do when we're hanging out and drinking together. Him being interesting and funny constantly. Of his friends that I've hung with, I think the youngest is 23. I'm sure I already wrote of how Pat & I helped him fill out an application for a scholarship to the World Scholar Athlete Games. Deadlines were passed, he was sick and trying to put on a concert and I trudged thru a dust storm to fax the final pages off. All very dramatic.
Then we were floored when we heard he'd won one of 25 scholarships. Then the hassles really started. More forms and trying to get a passport from Mongolia. He needed to have a letter written explaining why he wanted to leave. Then to UB for the visa. It took him awhile to get a car going to UB, and then we had to wait. I lit a candle for him that Toni had sent me from New York between 9 - 11 (the Embassy visa hours - only Monday, Wednesday and Friday). Only to find out he didn't go. Lots of stalling as he tried to get the $75, over a months salary, for the visa ($45 of which is non-refundable whether you get it or not). Then there was an American, then a Mongolian holiday. Phones were going out, Lee & Shawn were helping us but also had to leave for work in the countryside.
So, we got bits of frustrating, hang on the edge of your seat, news sporadically. Finally I went to Jangar's parents house; I had never met them, at 10pm to get Jangars phone number in UB. I wanted to cry as I left the booth. He'd gone and been refused, but I couldn't understand why. We couldn't get a hold of anyone at the Peace Corp for days. Then Lee sent me an email with the thinnest shred of hope; it was something though. The kid had been refused for not sufficiently proving he would return to Mongolia. How is an 18 year old supposed to? He has no dependants, no large finances (he did do this as a scholarship application) and unfortunately is not currently attending school because of his job.
So Lee had WSAG send a letter further explaining their program and Pat and I hurried to fax off a letter before 6pm, it was 2pm when we started, and it was a Friday. We realize the counselor's job must be very stressful. We tried to exhibit Jangar's nature as we know him well and reassure the fact his hand will be held to and from the airport. I wished we'd done this before. One of the reasons I write this now. For others who might be in a similar situation some day. I knew it was s difficult situation, but it is just an errand for US citizens, not a fight to hold onto a dream - so do overkill on documents when you send someone in there.
Once again a dust storm, little, but very unexpected, blew as we wrote the letter. Which gave me a whacked sense of hope in its coincidence. I'm glad I've made friends before this day, as I rudely pushed through the motions and people just gave me space, seeing my distracted state and comments of bee ajilltay (I'm busy), which is not common for me to say.
But, no ... rejected. He's been very upset about it. So, grandma cooked up a luscious slice of heaven, but the waitress refused to serve it to him...
JessicaTue Sep 11 09:55:36 PDT 2001