Basic information
Interviewee ID: 990590
Name: Serjmaa
Parent's name: Sonomjav
Ovog: Horhon
Sex: f
Year of Birth: 1944
Ethnicity: Tuvan
Occupations: herder

Additional Information
Education: incomplete secondary
Notes on education: This most likely means 7 years of schooling.
Belief: Buddhist
Born in: Duut sum, Hovd aimag
Lives in: Jargalant sum (or part of UB), Hovd aimag
Mother's profession: herder
Father's profession: herder

To read a full interview with Serjmaa please click on the Interview ID below.

Summary of Interview 101110A with Serjmaa by Otgonbayar

Sonomjavyn Serjmaa was born in 1944. Serjmaa guai is an adopted first child of a family and she went to school at the age of eight. At twelve she completed the fourth grade and because her adopted father was sick she quit the school and worked at the collective. In 1970 she started to work as a nurse in the unified hospital of Hovd aimag. In 1978 she worked as a nurse and for 29 years she has worked at the hospital as a time keeper and then she retired.

Serjmaa guai managed farming in her childhood. Most of the settled citizens of Buyant did livestock husbandry compared to the ethnic minority, which was involved in agriculture.

When she was a child, she wore a Tuvan-style sööhii footwear cut and sewn by her own hands. She went to school in a drill cloth terleg. In school she lived in a school dormitory /ger/. The schoolchildren in the dormitory were given one mantuu in the morning and a meal in the daytime and in the evening.

Serjmaa guai’s husband is an Urianhai. He was a welder at a construction site for many years. Before 1995 the Tuvans were prohibited to marry Mongolians therefore Serjmaa guai ran away from home at the age of 19 and married an Urianhai. She has 7 children. The children were born in a short period of time one after another therefore there was a time when the six of her children attended kindergarten together.

At that time, in order to join the party they had to do deputy member’s work for two years and only after that they joined the party. Today they just give you the party certificate for you to join it. Serjmaa guai joined the party in 1970. Even today she agitates for her children to vote for the revolutionary party during the elections.

“The women of the socialist period had almost no power. Only today the situation is changing for the better. Now the women are elected if they want, they work as they want, they sleep as they like,” said Serjmaa guai. At that time the women constantly had a venereal disease checkup. The checkup was done in the ger. The women had to undress to get examined. In the socialist period a father wasn’t so attached to his children. It wasn’t like today when both parents raise their children. In the weekends Serjmaa guai bought material and made clothes for her children. From 1980s the people have started wearing skirts and blouses. Footwear was rare then therefore they repaired them and wore them till they were worn out and then they threw them away.

Summary of Interview 101110B with Serjmaa by Otgonbayar

During the cultural campaign Serjmaa guai visited the administrative places for a cultural inspection and every Wednesday she went to make the ‘ails’ clean their garbage. In 1995 Serjmaa guai’s labor was evaluated by the state and she was awarded with a title and a badge of ‘the leading medical worker’.

The city was very nice in the socialist period. There weren’t so many crowded gers like today. In 1983 she participated in the Congress of the Mongolian Red Cross Association as an honored blood donor. The delegates of the Congress were given the opportunity to purchase rare goods in the state department store. Her son who served in the military then was granted leave to visit his mother.

Serjmaa guai wasn’t aware of her pregnancy till she delivered her first child. In the socialist period most of the mothers delivered their children without medical assistance. Serjmaa guai’s ger was tiny without linoleum. It had a rug covered with a cloth. In order to clean the rug it was washed. Each ‘ail’ cleaned and prepared the bed sheets and changed the blankets with the coming cultural inspection. It was required to have two changes of bed sheets.

The medical workers’ salary was very low in the socialist period like today. Serjmaa guai’s husband worked as a welder at the construction site and he had high salary that is why it was sufficient for food.