Wateree residents treat Mongolians to Southern hospitality

Odgerel, Amartuvshin, Lynne Noble, Enkhtsetseg, Ganbold and Rick Noble.

As many of you who have attended a party at the Lake Wateree home of Rick and Lynne Noble can attest to, the event is always an affair to remember. For many years the Nobles have held a Flag Day party or a July 4th party with the yard decorated with flags of every nation, but this year’s celebration was a combination of many. The Nobles referred to this year’s party as a ‘welcome Lynne home from Mongolia day, Flag Day, Independence Day and welcome visitors from Mongolia to the United States day.’

Noble has been kept very busy since her return from Mongolia for the second time. As a Fulbright scholar and professor of Early Childhood Education at Columbia College, she spoke of her recent travels to Mongolia at a Mongolian visitor’s luncheon last week at the Marriott Hotel in Columbia. Lynne’s work there consisted of teaching educators and teacher candidates. She has also been instrumental in fund raisers for additional Gers for the people of Magnolia.

For those of you who do not know, a Ger is a building that is stocked with children’s books, magazines and games, as well as running activity, homework and reading sessions. The book Gers provide children with a place for reading in their spare time which encourages their interest in books, improving their reading skills. Some of the students take books to children who have physical impairments, unable to get to the Ger themselves. This has been a favorite project of both Lynne and Rick for some time. With help from friends and family, colleagues and their church family, they have been able to provide for one Ger and are in hopes of providing for another.

During her time away Lynne had the opportunity to ride a camel, visit Darkhan (the second largest city in Mongolia) and went to inner Mongolia. Last year while there, she went to the Gobi Desert. Lynne knits, crochets and felts and is interested in learning yarn/felt art that exists in Ulaan Baator, Mongolia.

When she returned home this time, she invited and hosted four of her fellow educators from Mongolia for a visit to the United States. It gave them an opportunity to share with Americans their way of life and an insight into their culture. They were involved in observation and conversation with Columbia College faculty, visited varsity graduate classes and took several excursions. Lynne took them to the zoo where they had a special tour and up close association with elephants, penguins and the Galapagos tortoises. They also visited the art museum, Edventure, the Richland County library, Charlotte, Charleston and the World Affairs Council luncheon.

Mongolia, being land-locked, has lakes but no ocean. The visitors found great pleasure in putting their feet in the ocean while in Charleston. It was the first time in the United States for three of the visitors who range in ages from 30 to 50 years.

The ladies names are Odgerel, Amartuvshin, Enkhtsetseg and the male is Ganbold. The Mongolian women do not use last names as we do – their last names are their father’s first name. Odgerel visited the USA many years ago as part of a program. All four of Noble’s guests attended church service Sunday morning at the Lake Wateree Presbyterian Church, USA where they were warmly greeted.

Despite the 100-plus degree heat the day of the party, many turned out to meet and greet the guests. To cool off the party-goers, Rick made several trips out with the pontoon boat while some swam. Lynne cooked hotdogs and guests brought dishes to compliment them. There were many salads, roll-ups, chips and dips and desserts. The Mongolians remarked how much they love American food.

They arrived on June 21 and returned to their own country on July 5. They were friendly, charming people and interesting to talk to. I know Lynne and Rick showed them the same hospitality that they extended to Lynne during her two trips to their country, just as they did for Rick when he visited there last year.