Last month, I organized my first ever community project, a creative writing competition called Write On! that was started in 2003 by Peace Corps Georgia volunteers. Mongolia joined in 2011 and as of this year, there are 20 Peace Corps countries participating! It’s really neat to see a volunteer-run project like this operate in so many countries; I haven’t come across too many of them. Most projects that are implemented in more than one country are Peace Corps HQ initiatives like Let Girls Learn and AIDS/HIV Awareness. I think it’s pretty swell that something like Write On! is still going strong even with the two year volunteer turnover rate.
With the help of three of my counterparts, I hosted several pre-competition workshops to go over the basic structure of a creative story. Two of the workshops were open to the entire community so for the first time ever, I was able to work with students from the other three schools in my town. We learned about beginnings, middles, and ends. We learned about creating conflict and tension in a story to make it interesting. We practiced tapping into one’s creative stores to come up with plot lines that set their characters in different worlds and crazy and funny situations.
On competition day, we had 40 students from all four schools come and participate. The official Write On! competition can be held for students anywhere between 6th grade to young professionals, but since I was the only PCV on the project and it was going to be my first community event, I kept it simple and hosted only 10th, 11th, 12th and young professionals under 25.
I’m extremely proud and impressed with the entries. All the judges and I had such a great time reading through them. My CP told me later that the students were really glad to have participated, even if they didn’t place, because there are hardly any opportunities like this in the community. Yes, there is the whole English Olympics thing every year, but only one student from each school gets to participate in that and a lot of the times, the quieter but exceptionally talented students get overlooked. This kind of feedback is great because now, I know that I’m definitely going to organize it again next year!
Winning Essays for Write On! Ovorhangay 2016
(Posted with permission from author and without edits)
10th Grade – Winning entry
Update! Anujin’s essay one 1st place of all 10th grade entries in Mongolia! She’s going to the international finals ~
Prompt: You have invented something that will change the world. What is it? How does it work?
|Name: Anujin||Gender: F||Age: 15|
Everyone has their opinion on every single thing they care about. As for me, people in this generation seem to be “cold-hearted”, and also, most individuals seem like their intelligence qualities are quite low. And those are the things I want to change about the world. I know, this world is a complete nightmare.
We’re so silly, how can we measure intelligence by their marks on subjects or by —- they serve for? Intelligence is a much greater thing, we should be proud of it’s existence. So let’s get back to the main topic. Like, what would I invent if I were to change the things I hate on this planet?
Let’s imagine I’m a scientist in a lab, the laboratory is found downstairs of my house. One day, I came downstairs all yawning and stretching, walking slowly with my sleepy face and holding a cup of coffee on my right hand and my two tiny dolls on the other. I was so exhausted, I accidently dropped my spilled coffee in my “secret potion.” And… “BAM!”
All the things were covered with sparkling glitters. I stood up from where I’ve fallen, coughing and coughing again. “Please don’t let it be a –“
My naughty younger brother came downstairs, saw a little pixie and screamed “WHAT DID YOU DO!?” I stood there speechless, my mouth dropped and all I could do was to stare blankly. The pixies flying over my brother’s head (those are my tiny dolls which came alive) and went straight into my brother’s ear! He fell on the ground with his eyes closed. I yelled. He suddenly stood up, smiled at me and said “Are you hungry, sis?” – “Um, what do you want to do about that?” – “I’ll cook dinner for you.”
Impossible. Just impossible. How could those words come out of my brother’s mouth? Maybe the pixies….
I didn’t tell my parents nothing at all, and I think my brother forgot all about that stuff. The rest of the day he was treating me and the parents so kind, my eyes just got a little teary. His words and actions were beyond smart. I had no idea what had the pixies done to him.
“Time to sleep! I had a rough time today!” I told myself, hit the bed and started dreaming. In my deep, deep dreams, the tiny pixies were flying with me, and one told me that she lives in my brother’s heart now, and the other one said she lives in his brain and tries to fix the bad things.
I woke up from a sweet dream with a smile on my face and ran downstairs, to the lab! Now I know what to do! I must create billions of pixies!
And that’s the story how the world became the best place to live, love and laugh. I know it’s kind of stupid, but the ending is all I want. No hurt, no tears, no anything. Just happiness.
Open your heart up, explore your mind, find out who you really are. Do you need a pixie, or two pixies? No, you don’t need none of them.
I believe, someday you’ll find the pixies living inside you, and you’ll find the key to the change.
11th Grade – Winning Entry
You can spend your whole life traveling anywhere you want to go, but you can never stay in one place for more than three months OR you can spend your whole life in your hometown, but you can never leave. Which would you choose and why?
|Name: Nasanjargal||Gender: F||Age: 17|
I think that I choose the first choice that I can spend my whole life traveling anywhere I want to go. Although I never come back my town, I’ll do it for me. I have several reasons to choose it
At first I have been dreaming to travel around the world furthermore the galaxy for my life. I think that I’m studying to reach my goals and take part of my dream. My first travel will the galaxy. Because it seems to very interesting and strange to me. I believe that there has one special and mystery thing that anyone knows it in the galaxy. Generually there has living creature in the galaxy which is hidden when people come in their earth. According to the book and shows that I know and read, it’s possible. Although scientists inform that anyone lives in the galaxy, I don’t believe it.
So I want to go to there. Then I’ll meet living creature. “It’s true and has living creature” I’ll prove and say
I imagine stepping in the galaxy which seems very extensive and admiring. I like to say to my friends “Imagine being in the galaxy, Is it so beautiful” My answer is “Yes”
Second. Traveling around the world and galaxy, I’ll find the knowledge about languages, customs and histories. For me 3 months are enough time to learn great things I want. In addition to I have a great order that include names of countries I want to go. Such as Paris, USA etc. I believe that it’ll be necessary to travel.
At last I never refuse to make new friends. In my opinion I’m very sociable. I like to work as a team, share my minds to my friends and hear their stories I enjoy this world “It’s necessary to have 100 friends instead of having 100 tugrugs.
Generually I want to be in the galaxy for 3 months. Traveling around the world, I want to learn more. Therefore at first I’ll learn language. Also I would like making new friends who live in other countries. It seems very interesting and nice.
If I have chance to spend my life traveling anywhere I want to go, I will go when I’m pregnant. Because I’ll have a baby then I have been giving my baby knowledge that is about everything I learnt for my travel. Then I’ll wish that my baby’ll come back our town. He or she will do everything my country needs. Because he or she has enough knowledge. It’s a great idea. Thanks for all.
12th Grade – Winning Entry
For one year, you can do anything you want. Money is not a problem and you will not get in trouble for anything you do. But at the end of the year, you forget everything that happened. What do you do?
|Name: T.Purevtseren||Gender: F||Age: 18|
If this offer was offered to me, I’ll think carefully. This is a big deal by this I can do everything that I’ve never dreamn before, It makes me the king all over the world because money is not a problem and so on … But money makes people more greedy, more self-willed and more careless to each other if someone who is close to you get sick, money would solve the problem instantly. That is why many billionaries and millionaries haven’t many friends only close one or two it is because money makes people unfriendly day by day.
Although this have both bad and good effects not only for my life but also for my behavior, I’ll take it. Because I believe myself so that I can resist money to ruin myself. And enjoy the time.
Of course I’ve taken a chance I’ll do whatever i want, travel whevs, wherever i haven’t been before, buy everything I need and share my opportunity with my loving people.
In my wish list I marked Paris. So I’ll go to Paris with my boyfriend, book a hotel which has 7 or 6 star. In the evening we will go to The Effil Tower and in the whole night I’ll make beautiful memories for him and also for me, by travelling around paris, seeing the sunset and enjoy the fireworks for us.
When people have everything, they bore quickly. It’s too for me when i saw tasty meals, brand new purse. Maybe after 3 or 4 months later I’ll come up with idea of helping the poorest people. The people who have lost their home in hurricane, flood, earthquake. I feel motivated when an ordinary family having their meal shared. The smile that I see everyday isn’t all true. I laugh and smile a thousand time in a day but after day i remember only one or two of them.
By this idea I and my boyfriend will have our time happily because my boyfriend is naturally generous and kind to everybody around him. That’s why he guided me to help them. I’m sure that he will say that “Everyone can’t have a chance like you but if you help them they will have a chance too”.
This opportunity is only for me only 1 chance but if I share like that I can make my 1 chance a million, billion times. Isn’t it cool? In fairy tales and in cartoons magicians and Ginns say that you have only 3 wishes and you can’t wish to add it up. But for me I added it up million time. Wonderfull J
Time flies like a bird. One day you will remember that you have only a few days to finish up everything. Many people get peeved about how fast last year was But I won’t
I did everything that I used to dream about. And I’m sre that even though I’ll sent back to my life, I can have everything that I dreaming before. By hardworking and a great goal to my life I’ll have everything as much as possible for me.
I could remember that I got a chance and spend time happily at that time When my boyfriend, family members and others talk about that year and give me the photos that I was taken videos that i made, letters that i wrote, These might seem like I’ve just woken up from a sweet dream that i barely remember.
But everything is fortune for me. I believe that “It doesn’t matter that what you remember yourself It is important that how other people remember you.” Million people that i helped, hundred friends that i spend time together, a family that i brought up, a loving one that i love. If they still remember about that one year It’s fine for me and I will never regret that get a chance as a gift in my life.
Young Professional – Winning Entry
Instead of the oceans covering the earth, forests are in their place, making it possible to walk from continent to continent. Like oceans, they get deeper, darker, and more dangerous the further you go. You travel through one of these “oceans.” What do you see?
|Name: Munksaikhan||Gender: F||Age: 25|
In my opinion, traveling through one of these “oceans” will be a full of adventures. I hope that I can see a lot of wild animals and try to discover this world.
To begin with, I believe that, there must be many kinds of animals which I have never seen before. Of course, there will be some trouble including Food, accomandation and wild animals. But it’s ok. It’s a challenge and also I like adventurous life. In that kind of place I could see all kinds of rare and wild animals such as lion, tiger, elephant and even dinosaur. If I saw that kind of animals 1st of all, I’ll study their lifestyle. Doing so I think I can become friends with them. Also I want to help them. if they get sick I’ll treat them. If they feel lonely I’ll play with them. If they need love I’ll love them like their parents. Moreover, If I can make friends with some wild animals like elephant, there is no need for me to go on food and I hope we will travel together without any fear even oceans get deeper, darker, and more dangerous the further we go.
In addition, I want to study that kind of place’s plants. which I cold use for the treatment of some kind of illness. for example: AIDS, all kinds of cancer and some kind of flu. As I mentioned above I’ll study their lifestyle. Studying their lifestyle, also I could discover how they treat each other when they are sick. I hope they could me a lot about their life and I could study a lot from them. In order to use plants for treatment, I need somebody or something, who is sick, as a genue pig. In order to know what kind of illness is it I will study the symptoms of the disease and compare it with the disease as I mentioned above. I believe that this place has many kinds of plants which could help s to recover disease that kills human.
In conclusion, I think that this travel will be an adventurous and good challenge for me and my wild animals (wild friends).
“There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they’ll take you.” ― Beatrix Potter