Tyler Freitas in 2012
Expanding at a rate of over 15 km per year, the Gobi desert is making the threat of desertification a very real issue for Mongolia. With few nutrients and even less water the Gobi desert is a formidable environment in which to try to and grow anything. However, despite the harsh and challenging conditions Byamba has been planting and nurturing the trees in her nursery in Mandalgobi for over 30 years. The care and love she and her family devote to the project is immediately evident in their dedication and perseverance in their efforts. The two weeks I spent with Byamba, her husband Radnaa and their family was a phenomenal experience. They immediately welcomed me into their family and made me feel right at home. Despite the language barrier we quickly bonded as we shared many laughs over meals and while working in the nursery.
It was powerful to witness how the project has been transforming the town of Mandalgobi and the surrounding area. The tree nursery has become a corner stone feature of the town as a public park and playground are being built at the edges of Byamba’s nursery. Ecologically, the trees play a key role as they retain the precious top soil. The trees also act as a barrier, protecting the town from the brunt of the powerful winds which howl across the Gobi.