The Capital city of Mongolia is Ulaan Baator (UB). The collapse of Communism in the 90′s devastated all the soviet block countries. Among the hardest hit nations was Mongolia. With 90% of the country’s population living in the capital city, the pull out of communism created economic turmoil for many families in Ulaan Baator. The real victims of this tragedy are the thousands of children jettisoned by their parents who could no longer afford to care for them. The goal of AME2013 is to follow Brian Hunter as he runs across the entire country this June/July, 2013 with the purpose of raising awareness and to distribute supplies to these children.
Thousands of children (a majority of them below the age of 12) fight for survival on the streets of UB. The government is ineffective in providing any solution for these children. there are very few orphanages in Mongolia and they are overcrowded and understaffed. Historically the Christian Church has played a vital roll in caring for the homeless, poor , and forgotten yet the country of Mongolia is so remote that the church does not have a strong presence. The children are forced to resort to stealing, or begging for food. The streets are a very rough place to live. For protection, the children ban together in small family groups or gangs. If the daily fight for survival wasn’t difficult enough, the children face an even bigger problem when the sun goes down. UB is the coldest country capital in the world. Throughout the long winter months the daytime temperature seldomly climbs above 0° fahrenheit and the nights are brutally cold with temps plummeting below -30°. At temperatures that cold, any exposed flesh freezes in minutes and these children have no where to go. In a desperate atempt to escape the cold, they pry open the city manholes and sewer lids and retreate beneath the streets. Inside the manholes run heating pipes that provide heat and hot water to local buildings. Making a bed of cardboard, the children sleep on the pipes to stay warm.
When I first heard about the plight of the children my heart was moved with compassion. I knew I had to do something for them but I was paralyzed because I didn’t know how I could help. I thought that if I was a doctor, or a millionaire, or a politician then I could really do something for these children. But i am just a normal guy. I am a husband and a father but i don’t have any super powers that could help people on the other side of the planet. But then I realized that is what most people think and that is the reason this planet is in the sad shape it is in today. The most ordinary people are capable of extraordinary things when they have the courage to step out of their comfort zone and use the talents they have been given. Besides my dashing good looks I don’t have much going for me except running. I like running, I don’t love running but I thought maybe, just maybe I could somehow use my running ability to help these children. And that was the birth of the Across Mongolia Expedition 2013.