Name: Tsering Choephel
Interview Age: 65
Date of Birth: 1948
Birthplace: Shingri - Dhingri, Utsang, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1960
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 16C
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States
Categories: Culture and History
Keywords: childhood memories, escape experiences, herding, refugee in India -- life as, refugee in Nepal -- life as, refugee in the United States -- life as, Utsang
Tsering Choephel was born in a town called Shingri in Dhingri, close to Mt. Everest. He is fourth among 10 sons in a farming family that cultivated lands and raised animals like sheep and yaks. He recalls that as a child he helped graze the animals. He shares his personal experience of growing up in a large family and feels the mother is more important than a father to a child.
Tsering Choephel had seen a few Chinese soldiers in his village and remembers that they searched houses and passed out books written in Chinese. His parents secretly prepared for escape but did not want to tell the children anything about their plans. He only understood that the Chinese were taking their country from them and one night the entire family left their home. He shares his experience of the escape journey crossing over the pass near Mt. Everest and arrival in Solukhumbu in Nepal.
Tsering Choephel recounts life as a student in India where he lived under the guidance of foster parents until 10th Grade. He applied for a special program in the United States to work as a lumberjack in Maine. He describes the working conditions in the forest. Later he moved to Washington and as the local community of Tibetans grew, Tsering Choephel helped to establish the Tibetan Community Center in Portland, Oregon.
- Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
- Tony Sondag (Videographer)
- Tenzin Yangchen (of Portland, OR) (Interpreter)