“Verbist Care Center”

As mentioned before, we received a cry for help from the orphanage “Verbist Care Center” in Ulaanbaatar. Thanks to our connection, we were invited to visit the facility.

With a little bit of delay (traffic is insane), we reached the orphanage and were identified as visitors and asked to park our car in the courtyard by security.

Brother Simon Mputu Hgandu welcomed us and guided us into the manager’s office, who wasn’t present. He has been living in Mongolia for 5 years, working at the “Verbist Care Center” for 2 years.


Data, numbers and facts

Established in 1995, the orphanage currently hosts 40 children permanently and 7 only at weekends, which go to boarding school. The children are mostly between 3 and 9 years old and often arrive accompanied by police. Children younger than 3 end up at an alternative facility, a “kindergarten”, in the north of Ulaanbaatar. Children older than 9 also have to stay at a different facility.

Reasons for children to end up as orphans in Mongolia are diverse. The most touching and shocking story was that of a little girl, which was abandoned by its family together with her brother, because her birth brought misery to the family, according to the shaman. The family was located, but only the brother was allowed to come back. The tiny and pretty girl, which is very smart according to Simon, is now 12 years old and knows about her situation. Her Brother visits her from time to time. Without the orphanage she would not have a family.

We went to the cafeteria and had some tea and cookies. At the tour afterwards we could see the clean rooms. There are three groups: boys, little girls and older girls. Each group has a leader, taking care of tidiness as well as concerns. The boy’s leader rather appeared as 20 instead of 12. He was checking out what we were doing in his “territory”.

There are 12 staff members:

1 cook

1 manager

1 brother Simon

1 driver / security guard

4 24/7-shift-staff

1 part-time nurse

…and a lot of volunteer workers.

Inside the sick room there are 2 bunk beds. This room is used as a quarantine facility and newly accepted kids have to stay here under surveillance. There were 2 new kics, brothers. Their father was a single parent and an alcoholic, so the boys were not able to live a normal life. Their backs were covered in scars, and according to Simon, caused by their own father in a drunken stupor.

In the basement we found the boiler room, which is barely working. The pipes have been fixed but it will not bring 59 people (47 children and 12 staff members) through the winter. Temperatures can drop below -30°C or 40°C. Schools are closed during January, because it is too cold to send the kids to school.

When we showed Simon our Polo, he smiled and showed us a Renault Kangoo without a license plate, which was donated by travellers. Unfortunately, he can’t get a registration for it.

Also, the government doesn’t seem to be very helpful. They accuse theVerbist Care Center of tax fraud, thinking that the facility generates profit. Even though as an NGO all books and bank accounts are exposed.

We bought some toys and sweets, which we wanted to give to the kids. Simon told us, the kids would be very happy, if we would hand them our gifts in person. So, all the kids were mustered, gave thanks and went for our presents.

There are some success stories. One orphan boy went to military school and became an officer. One orphan girl took the A Levels and is now studying on the Philippines, thanks to a scholarship. We saw a picture showing former residents as successful and well-educated adults nowadays. Some even are parents now.

Those success stories and the flawless condition of the facility leave no doubt about the fact that reasonable and sustainable solutions are implemented.



Donations would be awesome, sharing as well.


A cry for help from Ulaanbaatar!

A cry for help from Ulaanbaatar!

We received a cry for help in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia and until recently official finish of the Mongol Rally.

The local orphanage “Verbist Care Center”, which takes care of street children until the age of 18, has no running water system and heating. In view of the upcoming winter and temperatures below -40, this will turn into a disaster.

In comparison: We are freezing in our 200 € sleeping bags, with a pocket heater and warm clothes at temperatures around 2°C!

Caius’ brother has been supporting the orphanage since 2013 with clothing donations. This is how we came along the contact.

The three of us can’t achieve much, but we would like to point out the donation campaign:


They need several thousand Euros, a small amount is provided by an aid organization. Every Euro helps. We will visit the facility tomorrow.

Thank you!

Yerevan – joy of reunion and emotional turmoil

A few years ago, Mesi and I went on a vacation in Egypt – one of the worst holidays ever. But next to some Ukrainians, we met some very nice guys from Yerevan. After visiting those guys with Nessi at the end of 2017, we announced our arrival and had a wonderful night out in Yerevan.

(Sightseeing in Yerevan))

The reunion was nice and boozy. Armenian food is very varied, rich and delecious. The “restaurant” was outside the city and made up from small huts, in which you can spend a nice evening with a group. We had a dash button to call the waitress.

But there are also some sad news.

As many of you might have noticed, our blog lags behind. One reason is that Mesi had to fly back home because of personal reasons. We had 3 crisis meetings and decided to stay 2 extra days in Yerevan and drive Mesi to the airport at 2 am. From there, Caius and Tobi hit the road towards Iran.

On our way to Jerewan

Well rested and strengthened, we continued the rally in direction to Iran and hit the road to Armenia. The depature was way easier then the entry. 😉 On the way, we visited an ancient monastery on a very steep mountain.

We also made a stop at the recrational area Sevan: 70s brutalism meets ancient monasteries, combined with jetskis and bbq areas at the water.

Tiflis – The border between the EU and Asia

After a little bit of sightseeing in Batumi, we drove to Tiflis, Georgia’s capital. The road turned from highway to moderate country road. We made a little lunch stop – at almost the same spot where I stopped 2 years ago. 🙂

In Tiflis bezogen wir ein Airbnb in der Altstadt und machten noch kurz Sightseeing, bevor es zum Dinner ging.
In der Rally-internen Whatsapp-Gruppe wurde von einer inoffiziellen Party in einem örtlichen Hostel geschrieben, der wir uns gerne anschlossen und so einige andere Teams trafen.

Wow… such a delay. Here comes Batumi (GE)

Over the last few days a lot has happened, good stuff, bad stuff and even worse stuff.

Batumi – The region’s bathtub

Prologue: Never ever “forget” to pay a speeding ticket in Georgia. 2 years ago I got a ticket for speeding, crossing a solid line and something else. I was supposed to pay 80 Lari (GEL), around 24 Euros, but couldn’t even read the ticket and wasn’t thinking about coming back.

That, my dearest friends and followers, was a huge mistake. Because I did come back with my team Teilzeitabenteurer on the  Mongol Rally 2019.

My teammates got out of the car and crossed the border by foot, very common in this region. Me, as owner of the car, wanted to cross the border inside the car. After leaving Turkey with some questions about unpaid toll fees, I arrived at the Georgian border. After passing the officers my driver’s license, his face turned from a smile into a cold poker face.

Another officer came to confirm something on the screen. A third officer stood right in front of the car so I could not drive without overrunning him. Everyone was screaming, searching for someone who could speak English. After a few minutes blocking the border, I had to park the car behind the guard house, the front facing towards Turkey. The officer, who had been blocking the car, was now blocking me and came very close to me.

Finally, a plain-clothed officer arrived and explained to me in German that I still had to pay my speeding tickets if I want to enter Georgia. When he turned around, I could see the gun in his waistband…

I followed him and found out that my tiny speeding ticket had turned from 80 GEL to 600 GEl. Factor 7,5 for 2 years sums up to 182 Euros.

Five minutes later I payed and was allowed to enter Georgia…again.

Fun Fact: I entered Georgia by officially driving backwards across the border.

One night in Batumi

After the tiny problem at the border, we reached Batumi and checked into a small guesthouse. We went out for dinner and drinks and met up with our friends from Car Blanch.

Cappadocia – cave houses and backyard campsites

Yesterday evening we reached Cappadocia, “a semi-arid region in central Turkey, which is famous for its fairy chimneys. Those conical rock formations exist in the Ihlara Valley, Göreme and other places. Additional important sights are the cave houses from the Bronze Age, which were later on used by Christrians as sanctuary. There are many rock churches in the 100 m metre deep Ihlara Valley.”

People from the Mongol Rally Whatsapp group recommended the “Dilek campsite” which we drove to. It feels like it is located right downtown in a backyard and other rally cars were literally piled up there.

We met two guys from the UK. They also travel with a “Polo Mark 2”, altough a coupé.

After the first welcome beer, we pitched our tents and talked about our experiences on the road so far.

The Tracker’ s last journey…

After a long, difficult battle, countless tries of reactivation, remote access from home and a lot of swearwords, it became clear this morning: The tracker doesn’t track anymore and it will never again. 🙁

We are going to receive a loaner tracker in Yerevan (Armenia). Until then, we will try to record our journey manually over the next few days.