zprávy z Mongolska

Brigitte von Sachers

Brigitte von Sachers - obrázek

Brigitte von Sachers - obrázek

I said: Today, Brigitte is coming for dinner. And he said: You mean Brigitte Bardot? And I said: No, Bridget Jones!

You like to say nice things about Brigitte Cummings because she represents the sunny side of Ulaanbaatar. She runs a small but renown Sachers Cafe, close to the central square, and she is the person who makes people meet. I was only happy to listen to her story of settling down in UB:

Recorded by LKK

Well, I had lived in Hong Kong for 28 years. Good life it was. We had a profiting company dealing in semiconductors, we had a busy social life in the yacht club, three children etc. And then, unexpectedly, my husband died. Trying to make a new sense of my life I was offered a small stake in a new, very prospective and exciting project in Mongolia.
At the time, in the latter half of the 1990s, Mongolia was a newly opened country with all the promising mineral resources, with the links to Russia, and unexplored markets. A friend of mine, who had been a co-runner in the semi-conductor business in Taiwan, believed that he had all the contacts and all the necessary information to start a business here – and the business was a bakery. For the Taiwanese at the time it was very difficult to come to Mongolia for visa reasons and I seemed to be a suitable executive go-between.
The first time I got in here was in 1997. Very quickly, it became clear that the bakery idea was not all that great. Ulaanbaatar had sufficient supplies of bread from the Russian built bakeries, and also the marketing plan was not working at all. But I was in it and so were two huge containers of expensive equipment. So I did my best. I kept flying in and out from Hong Kong but gradually I realized the business could only work if I was here full time. I got myself an apartment and that was it. I dropped my anchor, I became hooked to the place.
And believe it or not, I found a kind of happiness here I had been lacking in Hong Kong. Perhaps, it is due to the harsh climate or to the limited size of the expat community, I am not sure, but it is a fact that in Ulaanbaatar people rely on each other. While in Hong Kong, after my husband’s death, I found it difficult to get a friend fix a pipe and was recommended to get a professional plumber for money, in UB I found out I could call anybody, even a British ambassador himself and ask for tools, help, company, or advice. I also realized I could make people meet and I took great pleasure in doing so. After some time, I established a new Rotary Club here, I started organizing Hash House Harrier walks, and of-course, I had built a summer house in the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar and started inviting people from all walks of life – expats and Mongolians. Today, I seem to be involved in most expat activities going on in town – including theater performances.
I know that most newcomers feel a bit intimidated by Mongolian reality. It is hard to do business here, hard to find reliable local staff, hard to spend your past-time, the winter is bitterly cold and the city does not offer that much. But you can meet great people here – and once these people get together the horizons open up. And in this respect, I am always happy to help.
I consider myself a cosmopolitan and I am open to people from all over the world. I was born in Munich, Germany, close to the Czech border (actually, one of my favourite aunts was Czech). But I married an American and on the April 1 (what a joke) 1966 I became an American citizen. Proudly. I lived in Greece and Italy for some time, then we moved to Hong Kong and ran businesses in South East Asia. Two of my three children I adopted in the Philippines, and the Philippines is the country where I would like to spend my retirement. But do not ask me when that will be. I will be 70 this year but I am still happy to work. After quite a few years, the Cafe finally started to make profit and I have proudly become a part of the UB scene. I am enjoying every bit of it.
We wish Brigitte and ourselves many many more years of continued success. It is good to have you here, Brigitte :-) Thanks!
Places to meet Brigitte in UB
Helmut Sachers Kaffee: Baga Toiruu 14,
opposite Ulaanbaatar City Bank (next to Trade and Development Bank)
Rotary Club of BayanZurkh 100
Regular meetings every Friday 1 pm Chinggis Club UB
Hash House Harrier walks
Last year the walkers met every Tuesday 6 pm in front of Bayangol Hotel,
check the details with Brigitte when the winter recedes
Steppe Inn
Regular Friday expat nights just next to the British Embassy
UB Players productions
The last one, Agatha Christie´s Mouse Trap, took place in November 2008
09.01.2009 05:48:41
Bohemia UB: česká základna v Mongolsku www.bohemia-UB.com
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