Nanzai


Basic information
Interviewee ID: 990903
Name: Nanzai
Parent's name: [blank]
Ovog: [blank]
Sex: f
Year of Birth: 1943
Ethnicity: [unknown]

Additional Information
Education: [unknown]
Notes on education:
Work:
Belief:
Born in: Hyargas sum, Uvs aimag
Lives in: sum (or part of UB), Ulaanbaatar aimag
Mother's profession:
Father's profession:


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Translation:



The Oral History of Twentieth Century Mongolia

Byambajav -

Well, I thank you very much for accepting my invitation and giving me this interview, interview of your family. Now, let’s start our interview.

Nanzai -

OK.

Byambajav -

First of all, will you please introduce yourself once again and tell in details what you recall about your family, what are the memories that you keep in your mind.

Nanzai -

Yes, well, I began my married life in 1965 I married Mr. Goosh who is from our native land, we lived together until 1994. Then my husband died prematurely of sudden illness. Since then 12 or 13 years have elapsed, haven’t they? The most difficult thing was, when my husband died, of the children the youngest one was 13 years old and the eldest had graduated from university. So since then we have been carrying on our livelihood and left behind quite a few years. As for me, as for two of us 4 children were born between us, actually it was 5 but one we lost. My eldest daughter was born when I was still a student, I gave birth to my eldest daughter, the next 3 were born when I was working in the youth league, so gave birth to the next 3 of them. (laughed) Well, then our children are doing good enough, we paid considerable attention…so that our children…get some education, now all my children have appropriate education. The eldest daughter Narmandakh is a graduate of Food Technology Faculty of Technological University. The next son Munkhtuvshin has graduated from Transport college, he has, a middle education and vocational training. There is a son of mine by the name of Batmunkh, Batmunkh, after finishing the 10 year school, entered the Military Institute originally, but after his father died apparently he had no liking of the profession or interest in the school he left the institute. So he decided instead to take up some job, he thought that military (not “зэрэг” but tsereg- militray) education has no future and left the school, he has been doing various jobs until now, he finished 10 year school and has full secondary education. At present he is working in Korea. A year and half passed since he has left(for Korea). The next one, the youngest daughter of mine is Odmandakh, Odmandakh has graduated from the Mongol Business Institute. Then she also studied in Magis…MA courses of the University and graduated. She is an accountant at Medical University. Anyway, I believe that all my children have acquired certain profession that enables them to pursue their own livelihood. I believe that any education is sufficient if one can manage his own livelihood and within their capacity organise his or her life. Well, in general my children had grown up and they are living like many others. My eldest daughter was born when I was still a student, I was in the last course so 45 days after giving the birth I started attending my lectures and without any problem graduated the institute. Meanwhile my mother moved to the city from the countryside. So there were my mother and my father and mother in-laws, they looked after my children. In general, it was my mother who reared all my children. I was doing my job and never really had a leave to take care of my children, and my children did not fall ill very often and created problems for me. Of course during their lifetime there were occasions when children fell ill, some of them were hospitalised, catching colds or falling with pneumonia did happen. Two of the children got infection of hepatitis, so I had been in hospital with them such minor problems which is inevitable in human life occurred. Otherwise my children did not cause that much problem or hardship. They did not suffer from long illness and did not put me in a situation of fear and fright. Well, for a mother there happens various complications related to giving a birth, that was there. When I gave birth to my eldest daughter I had some problem, as for the others I had normal birth without any complication. Before the birth of my eldest daughter Narmandakh…when I was studying in the Institute of Agriculture I was sent to the rural areas for practical work (on fields) for 6 months. (0-06-15) When I was sent on fields studies for six months my pregnancy was already in advanced stage, the child was moving in my womb. When I was in rural areas on field studies my husband followed me and came after me. I was in 7, 8 months of pregnancy, it was in the 8th month, when he came after me he brought quite bit of seasonings such as bay leaf. At that time various seasonings were almost unavailable so probably we took a liking in them and added it into our food, even in our tea. So after adding the seasonings into our food for 2-3 days I could hardly raise my head, my whole body was aching, so I fell ill why and how it happened we had no idea, we did not suspect that it was caused by the spices and the grass (leaf). When I was there earlier I had no heath problems, no change (in my health), we were on field practice, students of Agricultural institute were engaged in practical work on production site, it was our practice, we drove tractors and we were working on vegetable fields as an agronomist. I was feeling fine, I was responsible for one field and for the whole day I was on horse back inspecting the field, everything was normal, then suddenly I got that high blood pressure, we found out that it was a hypertension later. That time I had no idea, suddenly I my head became too heavy. So two of us went to the soum centre but I was so ill and uncomfortable. So there was no other option than go back to the city. I had to write a paper on my field practice, so postponed it, told my teacher who was in charge of us that I’ll finish the paper in town, I can’t now write it. So we went to Selenge, from the centre of Brigade we rode on tractor to soum centre from there on a car we went to the centre of Selenge (aimag) from there we took a car, no we took a train. In the train, apparently, from time to time I was losing my conscious or passing out, even that I did not notice, I had an attack of hypertension. Back then blood pressure was rarely checked, now a doctor would, first of all, check your blood pressure, it was not the case then, I don’t know why, either they did not pay much attention or did not care about it. So I came home loosing and regaining conscience from time to time. Our ger was in enclosure at Tsagaan Khuaran (Name of Military barracks in the eastern part of Ulaanbaatar), when I came home it was September and very hot they were refurbishing the ger, in autumn people disassemble their gers, repaint their wooden floors and make other minor repairs. My mother who moved from countryside to town was doing this kind of work. I spent 2-3 days after returning but I could not barely raise my head and my situation worsened still further. My mother, my father and mother in-laws decided that I was too tired working in the countryside and they fed me mutton broth but as you know mutton soup or broth is not good when you have hypertension. All of them thought I was exhausted nothing else, no one knew that was a hypertension. So after 2-3 days in my ger one evening I had fallen unconscious, then I regained conscious and heard a vehicle coming outside of the ger apparently an ambulance had arrived. That time there were not so many cars, noise of car was also rare. My mother gave something tasting very good and pressed on me to drink it, murmuring my daughter drink it, I think I made a few gulf and then I don’t know anything or what happened after that. Then I suddenly found myself lying in pitch dark room with extremely white ceiling. So I thought, ambulance brought me here, I am in a hospital. Soon doctors and nurses came in, I was brought to what is now the 3rd maternity house. It was then and probably it is now also like that when a mother is unconscious and suffering from hypertension she was put in a dark room.

Byambajav -

So was there a regulation to put in dark room?

Nanzai -

Yes, it is, yes, probably, it was necessary because of the hypertension. So without regaining conscious I spent there 2-3 days, then I regained consciousness, but I was intermittently fainting and gaining consciousness, since I was lying in a room, knew that I am in a hospital anyway. So after a while I felt better, blood pressure had decreased, but my whole body was in pain. Apparently, injections of magnesium were made, my buttocks were sore from the pain, in fact, injections were made many times. So I was better after a few days in the hospital I were to be discharged but the time to give birth came. And my eldest daughter was born, she was born with some complications the rest had little problem. The rest had not much…(0-11-31)

Byambajav -

So at that time you were pregnant, aren’t you?

Nanzai -

Why, I am telling you that I was pregnant and because of pregnancy my time to give birth was very close, at that time the pregnancy was already at its 8 months, a bit early before birth. Therefore, the birth should have come after I finished my field practice and came back but may be because of the hypertension or because of something else I gave birth slightly prematurely. Since then I understood that it is undesirable to take spicy foods during the pregnancy. In the hospital they had to discharge my placenta (afterbirth) manually so Naraa was the first child born with severe complications. The rest were born normally, normally so I made out them equals to men and brought to this stage, in general, my children respect their mother, they all love their mother very much, none of them would speak anything against when I say something to them. Of course if their father was alive they would have received far better education and went after something else,(0-12-33) they would have chosen other professions or do other jobs. And if they were engaged in better jobs that may have been far more beneficial and improved their livelihood. My husband was a very business minded man, he was an innovator and thinker, had good acquaintances and contacts as well as with a lot of good friends. If their father was here they could probably get a different profession and skills. I think that mastering such education and skills would have been very helpful in their life. However, what can we do, it was our fate that we find ourselves today in this situation, that is the fate we can’t do anything about it. Then my mother had been of great help to my children, my mother after she moved to the town for a while took care of my eldest child. Afterward she worked there…Generally speaking, my mother is a resident of the countryside and had really no permanent jobs as such, mostly men were working in earlier days. So mother after she came to town started working as a cleaner at Financial college. But when my mother came to the town, she was not the one who had been transferred to the city. The reason behind it is that…two of us were born from my mother, and then there was very long interval between birth of the second child, my younger brother is 16 year younger than me. When there was no second child so my parents adopted two more children in between when they were living in the countryside. One of them was a young guy in his teens, that poor boy was very young but was a worker in Nalaikh coal mine, at that time mine workers were enlisted in great numbers from the western aimags (provinces), it was thanks to him that my family (was allowed to move) moved to Nalaikh, after working for 2-3 years they came to the city. After coming to the city my mother had reared my elder daughter up and then worked as a woman on duty, no as cleaner in the financial college. My middle son Munkhtivshin was enrolled in kindergarten but he refused to attend it. During night he yelled “I’ll not go to the kindergarten” and cried, he disliked the kindergarten very much. In the morning Khurlee that adopted younger brother of mine would take him to the kindergarten. At that time various soft drinks were rare, there was only one kind of sweetened drink, so in the morning I would show a bottle of that drink and tell him take it with you in this way we somehow tricked him and brought him to the kindergarten. For a few days he took the drink with him but he now did not pay any attention to the drink again refused to attend the kindergarten. He cried during the night I’ll not go to the kindergarten, I’ll not go. So my poor mother had to leave her job in order to take care of now this Munkhtuvshin. We were living side by side as neighbours, he would sleep in mother’s ger, my poor mother loved tenderly Munkhtuvshin, from the childhood of my children from among them she cared more for him, my late husband father of this child used to say…he was probably not thinking of anything bad but would say (to my mother) your education of this child is wrong…he used to repeat this remark constantly. In general, he was a capricious child if we say something he does not like he would run to mother’s ger, he would not take our words. He was a spoiled child my mother was generous in spending money on Munkhtuvshin. It was a time when money (tugrug) was strong mother bought whatever he wanted. Well, now this guitar was fairly expensive at that time so she bought him musical instruments and various items he wanted to have. So his poor father would say you are bringing up this child too much on his own volition. Of course there was no extra money but mother definitely loved this child more than the others. However, my children don’t have any abnormal or wrong characters. The only thing is that these two sons of mine drink vodka a little bit. This is what concerns me, this could affect their life in future, now this Batmounkh who is in Korea, when he was here in the company of his former dissolute friends strayed for a while, spending the money he earned on the job on drinking and merry making with that very companions and he went in the wrong way. But after he left for Korea, judging from what he is now speaking he has become wiser and has been changed to the better. (0-17-46) I was causing a lot of suffering to you back home, don’t think or compare me with what had been before, I am behaving very well here, I now understand everything, I love you he tells me seriously when we talk on phone and I hope he is getting better. Then I assume that the Koreans like drinking and he, obviously, also drinks sometimes. I understand that when he receives the salary he drinks a bit. He himself says that I don’t drink during the rest of the time but I drink a bit when I receive my salary. So I tell him if you drink moderately once and while I don’t mind my son. It is the two sons, the other two girls are very modest, my eldest daughter as well as the youngest one are very mild-mannered and sometimes I have to tell them to be more smart and lively, if in the past modest person was valued now the time has changed. But trying to be not very modest start talking various things would be strange, isn’t it? However, one should be able to speak out what one wanted to say. As for their job they are doing their job and earning their livelihood. When her father died this youngest girl of mine was 13 years old and was attending 5th or 4th grade of the school. Then shall I describe it as for the sake of living my eldest daughter after graduation worked only for a few months on her professional job and then quit, she did not like the work in milk factory so she left and went into small private business. It was a buying and selling business, the ger of my eldest daughter was to north near the bus station No.5. My youngest daughter was in 5th or 4th grade, she was petite, as well as physically dimuntive, so she went together with her sister to the market and sold small items, she used to go from here (our apartment) alone my poor daughter, poor thing a tiny, tiny creature went to north (in the direction of the market). Now, that was one thing she learned from childhood. She brought small amount of items to the market and sold them, and there she was a small pretty child. She accompanied her sister and had to carry various heavy loads, so my poor daughter saw the life from tender young age. Even when she was in 9th, 10th grade during the summer vacation she was always busily engaged in trading. (0-20-51) So she, generally, is quite experienced in commercial activities…and I think that experience now proves to be useful when she has become a professional accountant. Any way it did not bring any harm to the child. Yes, she had learned to take up various job and handle them. And now she remembers how she was ashamed when she saw her classmates walking over there (at market)…when she was standing to sell something, she until now remembers… and often tells about it. There is Olziinaran, husband of our Odmandakh, these two knew each from very young age, they both attended school No.40 and both were together attended the kindergarten. Then they studied in the institute, after graduation her husband went to Korea, worked there for two years and came back last year and they joined together (married?) in this apartment. So now Oogii (Odmandakh) talk about how she was buying and selling, my daughter was also doing the following, at one time the fast service points or a small kiosks or stands became very popular in our country , small kiosks were found everywhere, now these points grew into big shops. When I was still doing my job I had a fast service point working close to our apartment, nearby of our home. So our Odmandakh was on counter of the kiosk. (0-22-13) She spent all her free time there, after returning from her school in the evening she stood there selling things. Now they laugh that when she saw her boy friend walking nearby she would hide herself. (laughs) However, even he saw her, he pretended that he did not notice and went away. Then including her classmates she probably met many acquaintances. When she was small, younger sister of my late husband after their marriage lived in this large room of our apartment with her husband. This Odmandakh was very small, may be just over two, so we were living together but we had separate kitchens. They prepared and cooked their food and drink in this room. Well, usually in morning we went out to our work leaving the child behind. When we leave for our work a bunch of children remained at home. The child of that younger sister as well as that Batmounkh and several other children after their school crowded here noisy and fighting each other, that was how they spent the day. My daughter from her childhood was very able taking care of herself with cup in her hands…she found something to eat…that young sister and brother of ours were very economically minded and industrious persons since their childhood, what they did was the following, at that time meat was very scarce, when in the evening we were going to the beds they would to chop or grind the intestines of sheep and by the time you got up the next morning they would have made 1000 buuz (meat dumplings) and put at the balcony (to freeze). They are such an economically minded people since youth. Accordingly they now have the possibility, to enjoy truly a very good life because since young age they have learned to make good use of things available. So they came during the day break and steam cook the meat dumplings for luncheon before going back to their work. So my daughter who was two years old came in with her cup (laughs) and took her share of dumplings and ate… she often told us about that, and said that was how I take care of myself, and eventually she learned to take things in her own hands this is what she says. Soon those relatives got an apartment and left us. So since very young our this youngest daughter was rather independent and things done by others had never been to her liking, she did not like that. For example, when I combed and made her hair she would get angry and would say it was no what she likes. She was attending a kindergarten, the kindergarten No.86 which is not far from here to the north, so when I wanted comb and make her the hair she did not like this or that make, if I knotted a bandage on the hairs she would say it looks ugly, took it off and threw away. So I don’t know what to say since childhood she was a child with, may be rather, quick temper. As for me I did not feed for long these children with my breast, I had low yield of milk from the very beginning, so all of them were generally fed by bottles. This youngest one was bottle fed till 4, 5 years old and she would not take that pacifier out of her mouth. My mother lived Khailaast to the north and sometimes when we visited her we’d either forget to take the pacifier or loose on our way, so in evening she would not sleep without pacifier and demands us to give it to her so my poor mother would have to ask her neighbours whether they have a pacifier. Since childhood she was…

Byambajav -

Would you please talk about your husband?

Nanzai -

Ok. Well, my husband graduated from Medical Institute, after graduating Medical college he worked for several years and graduated Medical Institute in 1972. So after graduation in 72 he worked in ambulatory No.4, which is situated at around bus station No.7 now, it is the bus No.5 he worked as the head of that ambulatory. Afterwards he worked in Suchbaatar district…in the past there was an office of health, it was an authority in charge of health headed by a chief doctor and responsible for the activities of all the clinics on the territory of the given district under the supervision of district authority. My husband worked there, in Suchbaatar district, may be for 4, 5 years. Then he worked as the chief doctor of the policlinics of transport workers. When he came as the chief doctor, the clinic of transport workers had just been constructed, only the building was built, oh no the building was just being constructed and when the construction work started he was there. So after the completion of construction, installation the equipments and all other related work were organised by him. Now, that clinic of transport workers (0-28-02) is in Tolgoit, now the policlinics of So… Songino khairkhan district, may be that of Bayangol district is housed there. My husband made the new clinic one of best and nice clinics it remained as such for quite some time. My husband was a talented and extremely capable organizer (manager) that is why he made that a very nice clinic. So it was a specialised clinic for transport workers and drivers, they passed medical examinations and received medical treatment. But later it had ceased to be a specialised clinic. After that my husband was sent as head of the section of clinic where patients were treated by airag. (fermented mare’s milk, airag was used to treat various lung deceases) After working for several years as the head of section he was sent to the State Welfare Centre in Batsumber as the chairman of that organisation. He worked for two years over there, fell ill and died there.

Byambajav -

During the socialist period you must have been very busy? Both of you were working.

Nanzai -

Of course, very busy.

Byambajav -

Then you probably spent Saturdays and Sundays at home. So how did you spend the holidays with your children?

Nanzai -

Well, now usually I washed their clothes and prepared food. Then we also did that …we visited cinema houses and went outdoors in open air picnic together with our children, my poor late husband was very good at arranging such activities. So we took our children outdoors, attended some spectacles, strolled in the park, generally, I think we spent our free time quite nicely. I washed their clothes and made arrangements for other chorus at home and went out taking the children with me, I can say that normally I arranged fairly well both sides of my engagements that is to say my job and my time of leisure. When we were living in Tsagaan Khuaran, it happened, that time we were living very near to the park, so on Sundays we usually took the children outdoors, they were still very young, even the two elder children were small, the next boy was (0-30-21) recently born, it was a time when we had received an apartment. So we put him in baby carriage and went to the park. And the children played in the park. So, so I can tell you one thing that I remember, when this our youngest one was still very little. It happened that we had no money,(0-30-57) the salary was not coming yet, I don’t know what we had done with our money, we were out of money then we wanted to get outdoors, then my late husband found and took one dollar out of his pocket. The exchange rate for a dollar was not very high then, I don’t know how much it was, with that one dollar and taking our youngest child three of us went down the street, down there, on the other side (of street) was the Shop No.70… so with one dollar were walking down looking for some shop, at that time service centre were rare, so three of us continued to walk down the street. There was the Prague restaurant, now it is probably a different place. So we entered that restaurant with one dollar… but as we saw there were nothing we could buy, so we I think bought a canned soft drink, I don’t know whether any change was left or not since we could not buy anything else we came back home, we went out as people with a lot money. Occasionally various (funny)things happen in the life of a family. I don’t know what we wanted to buy by one dollar, since it was not worth of anything we bought a soft drink for the daughter and returned home.

Byambajav -

At that time there were some spectacles, and then a lot of films were shown in cinema houses but…

Nanzai -

….films were shown.

Byambajav -

…other entertainment services were extremely rare, were there any bars, other places of entertainment and show?

Nanzai -

There were no such places as bars and entertainment and show where you could go and sit. It is now that there are numerous number of these services, the services of that time were groceries, stores and then the circus. When we were living in Tsagaan Khuaran, this Batmoukh of our was small, this our Bagii, since childhood, was a rather cowardly and fainthearted child, so once we took him…and went to see the circus. We were in Tsagaan Khuaran so we went to the circus when we were sitting and watching the performance this Batmunkh got fraightened and couldn’t see it, started to yell and cry…to get out. So since he did not stop crying two of us left with the child, there was a canteen, in the past, on north side, (оросын хойд? -probably wrong transcription) canteen No.7. We went to Canteen No.7 and dined there and when we wanted to go back to the circus the child noticed it and would not go, we tried to pursued him that the performance was beautiful, let’s go and see it but he would not budge. How old he was, probably 3 or 4 years old. Since then he used to repeat circus baba (no good, bad), canteen baba. (laughs) Then when we were still employed our organisations used to observe children’s day with special celebration, organised various contests, showed spectacles, now they probably organise the same events. (0-34-26) Organisations transported the children with their parents (to the event sites), probably they do the same today. Then during one celebration of the children’s day, I was working at city youth league which was situated in the park, I took the children and climbed the Zaisan tolgoi (a hill on the south of the city), and when started to descend the child was afraid and could not come down, he climbed the hill but he was afraid to descend. He climbed the hill but he was rather fainthearted, he was even afraid to come to the balcony of high rise buildings, he was so fainthearted. So in order to bring him down we had all the time to cover his face and eyes in descending. Thus since his childhood he was such a fainthearted child, even today sometimes, apparently, he is frightened and feel uncomfortable.

Byambajav -

From among your children with whom it is easier for you to communicate, who was that child of yours?

Nanzai -

Probably the youngest one?

Byambajav -

Even today.

Nanzai -

Today? Now, first all I communicate with this eldest daughter of mine, and mostly with my two daughters I communicate. As for the sons I communicate them to say what I think I should tell them. But I don’t contact that often…tell them this and that, if I tell hem they will understand. In the first place I’ll speak to my eldest daughter then after that the youngest daughter, because various good and bad things occur in our life (laughs) That is it. Well, shall I talk about my father and mother, can I?

Byambajav -

Of course.

Nanzai -

(laughed) My father Tseelei was a very tall man, he was well-known in our land as Undur (Tall) Tseelei. Our father was a very gentle and pleasant person, deeply respected in our place. In his childhood he finished (attended) no school, in fact, he even did not attend the 1st grade of elementary school. (0-36-53) So when he was in military service there he, apparently, learned literacy by himself…He had no profession, however, later he, somehow, became an accountant so my father was in public service of our soum and was always one of its functionaries in the high office. My poor mother stayed at home and my mother did all the housework work. At the same time my father was a very industrious person, he was an avid lover of physical culture, he tried all kinds of sports such as volleyball, chess, table tennis, he even run in races, he was such a tall person, and also very curious about everything. My father served as the chairman of a county (баг-lowest unit of local administration), then for many years as the chairman soum Artel ( work association), later he was working as the accountant of the Artel until he died of illness. Shall tell a bit more details, my father liked very much different games, basically there were no game that he would not play. Our ger was a very big one, you know in our Uvs aimag we have big gers.

Byambajav -

Yes.

Nanzai -

Yes, yes.

Byambajav -

With 8 lattice walls.

Nanzai -

An immensely big ger with 8 lattice walls, my family had all the time such a big ger, so... my father loved games so my poor mother (father?) brought people to our home they played chess games, played chess. During that time, this what… was gaining popularity in our soum, shooting anklebones. (шагай харвах -It is called ankle bone shooting, but ankle bone is not used, may be it was used in olden times) It is popular today, yesterday they showed it on TV. Father would come in together with several people and they would remove the chest and other items to the one side, what was on the other side would also be removed so as to make room and they started the game of shagai kharvakh (Shooting the ankle bones). My poor mother got angry with them sometimes while preparing their meals, at times she did not mind it. (laughs) My poor father was a person extremely fond of different games. The last time, after completing the first year at the institute I returned home on my summer vacation, so after visiting my home on vacation I was planning to return. That time my father was going to do what… going to enlarge our ger(0-39-36), well exactly not to enlarge a but change the uni (poles that form the roof of the ger), and make new ones, apparently the old uni (poles) had deteriorated. Our ger was in an enclosure on northern side of the soum centre, the ger was dismantled, another ger without wooden floor was erected on the other side. The wooden floor was repainted and put to dry. So my poor father went to the mountain to cut young trees and brought them because uni-poles are made from young trees, usually it was of young lark trees, half of the poles were already made and half of them were not ready when I returned t (left for UB). My father and mother both liked sports very much so they put a make shift table from the floor woods on the site of the ger and we were playing table tennis. So when I left, my poor father was playing tennis, that was what he did, on a table made from the wooden floors of our ger. And since my father was a very tall person if we made a short pass and drop the ball very near (to the net) then that tall man had difficulty in moving fast and could not receive the ball. It made us to laugh over the poor man, he was such a playful man. When I was leaving he said to me “you could not do this year but next year you should make for me a shiimeg (a kind of slipper)” … no sport shoes of so many different brands were available in early days as it is today, so when I was child a slipper with flat heels and leather soles was made for me which I wore during my lessons of physical culture and it was called shiimeg, we sewed these shoes ourselves, it was a kind of slipper. So my poor father was saying when you come next year sew one pair of such shoes for me. So I left and came to my school and probably two months passed. I think two months passed. Then poor thing my father died in coma because of acute liver illness, he had hepatitis, without knowing that he had hepatitis he was sent to aimag centre and the illness became extremely complicated and he died in aimag centre, so I could not meet my poor father. He was a man who loved very much sports. My father was an accountant, a self taught accountant (0-41-55), after becoming an accountant he used Chinese abacus, abacus has 5 and 2 beads (two rows) on each…he used that instrument…he made calculation on it marvellously. So my father was a very well-known man in our native land, he was called Under Tseelei, therefore when the identity card of citizens were renewed, though there was a scheme depicting the genealogical origins of various clans, but we don’t know the exact location where our forefathers and relatives had been living, no we have any idea about our tribal or clan name. So according to instructions that we can create a new name on the basis of the name someone, whom our parents worshipped and respected or take the name of a well-known place in our native land, that was the instruction so we have taken the family name of “Undur”. So all my children have now the family name of Undur. Well, my mother, the poor woman, married very young…my mother and father were married when they were very young, there was a tradition to marry children while they are still young. I guess my father was 20 and mother 18 when they were married and the next year I was born. So they became mother and father while still young when they were only 19. When I was in 10 year school I was very big and fat child, it is now that I became so lean and wrinkled, I was plump. When I was attending 6th or 7th grade of the 10 year school in Tsagaan Khairkhan soum of Baruun….one summer I was returning home in vehicle, the driver was a young man he asked me “whose child I was” when I said the name of my father he retorted don’t lie…that father of yours is a very young person. Though I was not tall I was plump, that is why he thought so.(laughs) I don’t know may be my father was so young and youthful. My poor mother did not work anywhere, so it was she who reared and made us humans, my mother and father were both very good and nice people, of course, no one will say anything bad about their parents, however, I have to say that they were indeed good parents. (0-44-46) If I imitate my mother, my parents I must be rather calm and gentle person, I do hope I imitated them. I don’t really treat my children with temper. There are some parents with temper, who when speaking to their children use abusive language, scold and even beat them. I don’t do that to my children I take a positive attitude towards them. People from my native land also say that I imitated my mother and father, if their characters are inherited, being the offspring I should follow their heritage. I also conclude that I am a calm and primarily a gentle person. My children imitated these characters they all are, in general, rather gentle. Only the youngest of several children Oogii has a rather sharp temper but without any wrong inclinations, she flares up easily. I repeat to her that she might encounter problems because of her temper but she says I have tempers as well as intelligence.

Byambajav -

The character of your children and their attitude towards you had probably changed since the demise of your husband.

Nanzai -

No, not really, there was not much change.

Byambajav -

If you were to sum it up…

Nanzai -

… аа yes, there was not so much change, yes, not very much, of course they had received a heavy blow, they were still young and it was difficult when the only person they could rely upon had passed away. Then my husband spend most of the time at his work and he had not been that close everyday to the children, if he had spent days with them all the time it would have been different. So since he was always on move even small child became a bit estranged and probably did not feel greatly attached. This what I think.

Byambajav -

Generally, they say that suffering binds people closer, aren’t they?

Nanzai -

Yes

Byambajav -

Yes, after you have experienced that loss did you notice that the children became more harmonious or something of this kind, may be they understand better each other?

Nanzai -

No, too bad, not bad, that was exactly what happened if in the past we were able to cope (with the problems of living) when one of us disappears even the size of salary we received went down and that was why it became apparent that it was going to be difficult, and this was the situation we had encountered.. So my son had to leave his institute, he said mother my father died I’ll now work. It was hard to make the ends meet so those who were students after graduation directly went to work. (0-48-02) Even the youngest was doing some job. Every one came to understand that they have to do that, in the past when we had everything ready, we went together with the youngest child everywhere, that time we could afford almost everything but now everyone understood that what was possible then, was now impossible now. Yes, when we paid the apartment charge what remained from the salary of one person was insignificant, and the necessity of more money and more items to buy rose. My husband and myself were from the same soum and actually from the same area, and our families were living nearby.

Byambajav -

You’d been living together for 31 years, aren’t you?

Nanzai -

Yes, we did.

Byambajav -

Then after seeing the sudden worldly mortality (death), as an individual in what situation did you find yourself, can you recall about that?

Nanzai -

Oh, it was very difficult, my husband never complained of illness but the poor man fell ill…suddenly he became ill and continued to suffer. Probably one year had passed, he was still feeling ill, he was hospitalised but did not recover fully, he was losing weight and was, generally, in a very frail health condition. I had been worried since that time (0-49-47) and we had been to many different hospitals, at last he was admitted in the hospital of polyclinics No.2, there he did not get much treatment, he had symptoms of acute shortage of kidney function, in shortage of kidney function the blood becomes contaminated, the kidneys become congested and the urine spreads all over the body so the whole body is contaminated. The doctors were saying that he might suffer from kidney shortage, he himself was a doctor and he knew very well the situation but had still some hope, he once told me about that. So he spent a few days over there, we met and talked with doctors of the hospital. With acute attack of illness he had been hospitalised 4-5 times before his death. Then when he was still in the hospital and when the treatment was not over, he said he would like to be discharged, he apparently also wanted to avoid injections. He said he wanted to be treated at a sanatorium…so he was discharged and went to rural areas, he went to his office (welfare centre) in the countryside and after two days departed (died there) due to the kidney shortage. He was a man obsessed with work, exactly the day when he was out of the hospital, people from his office came to our home, so they were talking about their work, the situation over there is such, we did this or that etc. Then he said I have to go to my work tomorrow , I‘ll arrange the work there and come back then go to the “Orgil” sanatorium for treatment…I have to get some treatment. He insisted on that. On that same day just after leaving the hospital he went to the Red Cross. At Red Cross, since they had many people to take care of in the welfare centre, evidently they needed a lot of clothes and other items in aid for those in welfare centre. The chairman of the Red Cross was a person by the name of Shuuraa, he was a classmate of my husband, they graduated from the Institute together, so my husband met him and it was agreed that the centre would receive a lot of clothes and other items with that he came back home. (0-52-14) Then in the evening those people (from the centre) came and they decided it was necessary to leave that evening and come back the next morning. So the next a day a vehicle arrived and that morning he left, then upon arrival he started making arrangement with his people, on his arrival on the next day….At that time I was feeling not that well, so I sent my elder son and his wife to accompany him thinking that my husband’s condition might get worse. But he sent them back with a word that he was feeling well and would be back on the next day. Even so I didn’t know why may be it was the intuition, I told him I’d come after you on Monday and bring back a few of your belongings, you should take a long term medical leave, the doctors were also advising him to do this, so I decided to come over and sort out and bring back his clothes and a fix up a few other chores. And I thought it might be better to take for my husband that long term medical leave and arrived there on Monday, when I arrived his condition had already worsened. I left from here on Friday the next day representatives of the Red Cross arrived we received them and distributed all items to the people (in the welfare centre). Afterwards they hold a small party with those representatives of the Red Cross, we prepared for them a Khorkhog (a meat dish cooked with red hot stones in air tight can or container) that dish probably caused the deterioration, he said that he had a mouthful of broth of the dish. So it was the thing that killed the man who was suffering from acute illness of kidney function shortage. They told me that he slept for the whole night and throughout the day. The next day in the evening he was seized suddenly by an acute attack of pain so my husband departed in the home of a stranger. Of course I knew that his future was bleak, but did not really expect him to die so suddenly, I hoped that the medical treatment would help him. His sudden death put us in difficult situation. So I summoned my children to the countryside they arrived during the night and we brought his corpse…the staff of his organisation came after us and we carried out the funeral rites of the poor man here (in UB). Then for over a year and two it was very difficult, my children were still young, so what can I do, we had no option other than to pursue our livelihood, I had to look after my children’s education and other matters for the in interest of their wellbeing. Now, it is much better than in earlier days, they have grown up. So it is my hope that they will take care of me, no matter what, until I would have to leave them for good.(laughs). My children are not bad, not a single of them has such offensive or bad habits, they are not bad.

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Interviews, transcriptions and translations provided by The Oral History of Twentieth Century Mongolia, University of Cambridge. Please acknowledge the source of materials in any publications or presentations that use them.