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Published on Apr 13, 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: Dawa Dhondup grew up in Jang Tsakha, the place where one gathered salt. His was a large family of nine siblings. Dawa Dhondup shares the joys and difficulties in the life of a nomad. He speaks about the harsh winter months and how animals and humans managed to survive in the extreme cold and snow. Food for the animals was scarce and water for human consumption had to be melted from ice blocks. Heavy animal skins were worn for warmth and cloth or glasses worn over the eyes to protect from snow blindness. Summer and autumn were the best time of the year. Dawa Dhondup explains that wealth was determined by the number of animals a family owned, making his own family wealthy since they owned around 200 yaks, dri 'female yaks,' a thousand sheep and goats, and 15-16 horses. He describes the different ways the animals used such as transporting salt and milking. The family had 5-6 servants who helped with the animals and preparing grains for consumption. After the Chinese occupation, Dawa Dhondup's father was arrested for being a community leader and underwent "reeducation" before being released. The family escaped to Mustang, Nepal and most of their animals died from starvation. The remaining animals were sold for a low price and work was difficult to find in Nepal.