In collaboration with the NGO AVSF, we developed a touristic project to support the Arkhangai Ar Arvijin Delgerekh yaks breeders cooperative. With fair trade projects, the cooperative encourages yaks breeders to grow the business of yaks wool and, this way, to become less dependent from cashmere. This wool is also more viable regarding to ecology, since cashmere goats take part in desertification.
Today, the cooperative has 168 members and wants to develop fair tourism to create employment and diversify incomes. In effects, tourism is one of the factors that helps restricting the size of herds and, consequently, reducing the effects of overgrazing.
The families that want to take part in this program decided to share their daily life with travellers, showing many activities bound to their way of life. Here is a non exhaustive list of these activities:
- Activities bound to breeding: milking the animals, combing out, picking cowpats
- Training horses
- Cutting and carrting wood
- Making dairy products: aaruul, eezgi, cream, cheese, yoghurts, distillation of milk vodka, fermentation of mare's milk
- Traditional cooking
- Making the traditional cloth, the deel
- Making felt: beating wool, weaving, etc.
- Putting up the yurt
- Working wood: making the wooden framework of the yurt and the traditional furniture
- Working leather, notably horses saddlery.
Choosing to stay among breeders of the cooperative is not trifling. You must know that:
- Besides the usual salary given to the families for their accomation, food and activities, we give the cooperative 30 % (projects, social cotisation, VAT).
- Families are not accustomed to welcome strangers and we voluntarily restrict the number of travellers staying with them. So relationship can be very simple, naive and surprising. You must keep a great open-mindedness.
- The infrastructures are very simple. Generally only one yurt with four beds for the travellers, very thin mattresses, some travellers can be proposed to sleep on the bare ground, etc.
- No shower, only a restricted access to water for minimalist ablutions.
- Dry toilets are not always present. If they're not, you can do your business like nomads do : out in the country.
As you will have realised, you mustn't expect finding here a great comfort, but rather living an enriching experience as closely as possible to nomads. Genuineness often has a price : a comfort reduced to its bare minimum.