Eagle man’s family moved from a remote village in western Mongolia to the town of Olgii to provide better work opportunities and improved quality of life. Coming from a Kazakh culture steeped in the proud tradition of Eagle hunting Eagle man rushed off to change into his special Eagle outfit the first time we met. He so longed to live in the mountains and be an Eagle hunter and enjoyed being known as the ‘Eagle man’.
Being deaf and mute and limited by education and training possibilities, the potential for work was reduced. Similarly romantic opportunities within a traditionally conservative Islamic culture were few and far between. His marriage was arranged by his parents and he never met his wife-to-be before the ceremony. Coming from a remote village and having a learning disability also limited her prospects. They both wanted a family life and were similar in nature and so their initially pragmatic relationship flourished. They are hugely proud of their energetic son.
The family unit is small but robust. Eagle man’s father is a big strong man with a face that doesn’t match his personality. He’s pragmatic – with the aid of his other son he helped Eagle man to build his own home next to the family home. He’s welcoming, friendly and open and when it comes to his family, of whom he is justly proud, deep down he’s a bit of a softie. Eagle man’s mother who takes a back seat most of the time is someone with immense integrity and the real manager of the home and Ger. She is the ‘gatekeeper’ who keeps the family safe.
Eagle man is wonderful with his hands and turns bits of metal, bone and leather into functional objects which he sells in the Black market in Olgii. In summer he’s outside and in winter his business still flourishes inside. The variety of products is immense ranging from wire objects such as strainers and chains, to bone handled knives and specialist equipment for Eagle hunters.
Eagle man is very happy who, with the help of his family, lives a challenging but purposeful life.