By Fr. Simon Lee
Darkhan, Mongolia -- Since 2004 the most northern community in the EAO region -- Darkhan Don Bosco (about 250 km from Ulanbaatar) has begun a humble farming experience. Over the years the Don Bosco farm has become a wonderful expression of the ecological movement. Any kind of farming in the extreme weather of Mongolia (summer +40 C and in winter -40 C) is a challenge. However for the young people and Don Bosco lay mission partners and the Salesian Cooperators the annual summer 'agro-oratory' brings a special satisfaction. About 30 children and youth are involved in the 3 month educational oratorian experience, with the morning agriculture (sweating in the field) and in the afternoon with a variety of educational activities - language (English and Korean), ethics and good manners class and various games. Each of the 90 days also concludes with a Eucharist.
The end of September is a time of harvesting. The 1600 kilograms of pumpkin of this year makes all concerned happy. Also the table at the Darkhan Don Bosco Youth Center is becoming green thanks to the variety of harvested vegetables.
The Green Dancing Group was launched this year, already performing their Mongolian traditional dances (from 4 major different ethnic groups living in the country) in Korea and in Vietnam. Their dance and song message is all inspired by Laudato si', Pope Francis' encyclical. Among other activities is also tree planting, differentiated waste collection and an awareness campaign among their peers.
After the recent canonical visitation and encouragement of Father Provincial, the Darkhan Don Bosco is also going to join the global Don Bosco Green Alliance network (https://donboscogreen.org).