January 14, 2011

Stupa Cafe to the City Dump

Today a group of us from the Center took a drive to the City Dump. Our mission was to distribute food to the poor who made their meager living sifting through the trash. A sponsor had donated enough money for the Stupa Cafe to make 500 khuushuur which the cafe is famous for (our very own Erka won an award at the New Years Party for her khuushuur).

Khuushuur (Mongolian: хуушууp [xʊ́ːʃʊr]) is a kind of meat pastry or dumpling popular in Mongolia, similar to Russian chiburekki. The meat, either beef or mutton, is ground up and mixed with onion (or garlic) salt and other spices. The cook rolls the dough into circles, then places the meat inside the dough and folds the dough in half, creating a flat half-circular pocket. The cook then closes the pockets by pressing the edges together. After making the pockets, the cook fries them in oil until the dough turns a golden brown. The khuushuur is then served hot, and can be eaten by hand.

Erka worked late last night and came in at 4AM to make the khuushuur so they'd still be warm fresh when we delivered them. Unfortunately, none of the staff had been to the dump before but after a few quick phone calls, we were on our way with good directions to the edge of town near the power station.

In one way it was difficult to distribute the food because most of the people surrounded the trucks dumping trash and there was no way to drive the car out there. So, we just parked the car and started handing out bags of two warm khuushuur to those near the car. Soon many came running from the trash trucks. Despite the cold temperatures of -15F, there were a lot of people.

I was more amazed at their quiet reserve. Even though they crowded around the car, no one pushed or got aggressive or greedy. It probably took less than three or four minutes to hand out all the khuushuur. I think a few people were missed but most who came to the car got something.

People running from the trash trucks

People crowding around the car

Boloroo hands out bags of khuushuur

With more donations,
we could help these people and others like them,
especially during the bone-chilling winters.