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Tibet Oral History Project: Interview with Choekyi (alias) on 6/30/2007

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Published on Jan 26, 2018

The interpreter's English translation provided during this interview is potentially incomplete and/or inaccurate. If you are not fluent in Tibetan, please refer to the interview transcript for the complete and correct English translation. Read the interview transcript in English at http://tibetoralhistory.org/Interview...

** This interview about life in Tibet was conducted by the Tibet Oral History Project. This non-profit organization aims to preserve the history and culture of the Tibetan people by interviewing elderly Tibetan refugees about life in Tibet before and after the Chinese invasion. Learn more at http://www.TibetOralHistory.org.

** Interview Summary: Choekyi is the eldest of 16 children. Her family worked as pastoral farmers who both farmed and raised animals. They lived a very isolated life with no schools or doctors. Choekyi says, "It was all work, and playing was out of the question." Helping her parents during sowing season and tending animals were her chores, but she had no complaints. Choekyi provides a vivid description of various aspects of farming activity and her simple life. She describes how she slept with sheep and goat droppings in winter because they acted as insulation. She explains the complete process of making butter and cheese, including how the fresh milk was poured in leather pouches and kept in river water to cool it. Choekyi's encounter with the Chinese first occurred when they came to her region looking for grasslands for the animals they had procured. A month after hearing that His Holiness the Dalai Lama escaped to India, she and her family left Tibet. From Phari it was a night's journey to Bhutan and they travelled with their belongings and the small children on 14 yaks.

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