The Nomad Essentials
Two elements that are essential to the nomads are the “ger” (a Mongolian yurt) and livestock.The first is a transportable home that allows the family to move in sync with the seasons; the second caters for all other needs (food, fuel and transport).The wealth of a nomadic family is measured by the number of livestock it owns. Horses are revered as they are the main mode of transport. A Mongolian proverb says “a man without a horse is like a bird without wings”.
Life in The Steppes
Living on the steppe, the nomads are dependent on climate and the elements that surround them. They are very conscious and respectful of their environment. Due to the sparseness of people out on the vast steppes, the hospitality and generosity of nomads extends to anyone who passes by, whether it is a neighbor who has travelled many kilometers or a curious tourist.
On average the nomads move 2 to 4 times a year. If pastures are scarce they change location more often. A herd of 300 livestock will allow a family to be self-sufficient but the more wealthy herdsmen may have close to a thousand. As you would imagine, life in the countryside is very labor intensive. Harsh winters can be destructive to nomadic families, as extreme sub-zero temperatures can devastate their livestock.