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Tibet Oral History Project: Interview with Ama Kalden Chama on 7/5/2013

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Published on Feb 16, 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: Ama Kalden Chama remembers her birthplace Kochak as a small village. She explains that her family was self-sufficient with every need being produced from the land and animals. They wove fabric from sheep wool to make clothing and she describes a certain plant that was used to dye the fabric for monks' robes red. She also relates that there were no nearby monasteries to request prayer services from, but that a local shaman and laymen were called upon to perform these services for the villagers. Ama Kalden Chama was the youngest among four siblings and lost her parents at a young age. She describes the various types of burials such as cremation, sky burial and water burial. Due to her stepmother's ill treatment, she later moved to her uncle's house. She shares her experience of being married to a man she had never seen after being taken away to his village. She gives us an insight into these marriage traditions, including why many brides are not informed of the family's plans to marry them off. Ama Kalden Chama recounts the appearance of the Chinese and the capture of her maternal uncles. Fearing for her life, she fled the village with her husband and two young sons and arrived in Shakhumbu in Nepal to start a new life. She had eventually had eight children and moved to the United States in her late 70s where she was free to spend time on spiritual activities.

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