Dorjkhand loves chatting with her neighbours on her satellite phone. She is always sitting near the window, close to the satellite. The nomads got a phone a few years ago. © Didier Bizet

The Silence of Happiness

Didier Bizet

 2019 — Mongolia

About this series

Each year between 10,000 and 20,000 nomads migrate to the capital of Mongolia, making the economy and future of nomadic life increasingly uncertain. In 2010, in order to support the farmers, a Mongolian man, Bayarma-gnai, opened the Arvidjin Delgerekh Cooperative. The cooperative works daily alongside farmers to raise yaks for wool and milk. Nygmdorj and his wife Erdenetsetseg, Galbadrakh and Terbish, Budzagchaa and Dorjkhand, are three farmer couples who have joined the cooperative. They are now more serene in the face of the rising price of yak fiber. The price of a kilo of yak fiber has risen from 1500 MNT (0,5 €) to 22000 MNT (7,8 €) in a few years.
Since they joined the ccoperative, the nomads work more and feel less isolated. The cooperative now has nearly 800 fami- lies among its members. It was voted by the Minister of Agriculture as the best cooperative in 2017 for its efficiency, fair trade and veterinary advice to farmers. With 66 million domesticated animals, Mongolian nomads want above all to maintain their cultural and economic way of life. With the help of Arvidjin Delgerekh’s experts, farmers see a glimmer of hope for their future, but the same cannot be said for those who take the road to Ulaanbaatar.

Terbish is milking the Yaks, it is 7 am. © Didier Bizet
Budzagchaa (30) and his wife Dorjkhand (31) have two children. They have been living here for three generations, in the remote Arkhangai province. They are yak breeders and members of the cooperative since 2010. Budzagchaa observes from his house the advance of his flock on the hill opposite. © Didier Bizet
It will take 8 hours for the pickup truck to arrive in Tsetserleg, the capital of the Arkenguai province. The cooperative has its office in this small town. Sometimes the truck makes a few detours to deliver goats, collect wood, or simply meet a breeder. © Didier Bizet
© Didier Bizet
Budzagchaa and Dorjkhand have a hundred yaks. Every night, Budzagchaa goes out on a motorbike to the pasture to bring them back to the shelters. The lack of water during the last months forces them to stay in this camp for the moment. They will wait until July to join their summer camp. © Didier Bizet
Terbish works a lot. The family is totally independent . She prepares the evening meal: fried meat and tea.. © Didier Bizet
Bilegee, CAAD’s accountant (right), also comes to pick up the crop. The bags are weighed and listed before being loaded into the pickup. On the left, a collector and breeder; Batbileg, who harvested and stored several kgs of Yaks fibers. © Didier Bizet
Sukhbautag has been a grandfather for a month and a half, he takes care of his grandson until his son is also moves to his summer camp. © Didier Bizet
Budzagchaa checks Dorjkhand's blood pressure; she feels tired right now. With the help of a silver ring and a simple ruler, the measurement is correct. © Didier Bizet
Budzagchaa observes his herd of yaks progressing on the opposite hill. © Didier Bizet
Portrait of Tsolmor. © Didier Bizet

Photographer: Didier Bizet
Nationality: French
Based in: Paris, France
Instagram: @didierbizet

Didier Bizet used to work as art director in advertising agencies. Since 2015, he has devoted himself to photography. He loves exploring  the former countries of the Eastern Bloc and capturing its melancholy.  
Didier Bizet is a graduate of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts and has a degree in art history. He has publications in the international press. He received in 2020 a Sony Awards for his series Baby boom and has been featured in 2020 at the festival Visa pour l’image.
His latest book «Grâce à elle» was a finalist for the HIP 2021 prize and his publishing house Revelatœr has been elected publisher of the year at the HIP 2021 prize.