Interviewee Profile

Name: Tsering Kyima
(Alias: No)

Gender: Female

Interview Age: 83

Date of Birth: 1932

Birthplace: Jang Namtso, Utsang, Tibet

Year Left Tibet: 1959

Profession: Nomad

Monk/Nun: No

Political Prisoner: No

Interview Details

Interview No.: 35N

Date: 2015-04-13

Language: Tibetan

Location: Tashiling, Pokhara, Gandaki, Nepal

Categories: Culture and History

Keywords: childhood memories, Chinese army -- invasion by , escape experiences, houses/villages, nomadic life, Utsang


Tsering Kyima hails from Utsang Province and is the eldest of four children. Her father, a former monk, spent his time reading scriptures for the family and others. Since the age of 6 Tsering Kyima grazed yaks and sheep in the mountains. She left each morning and returned at 5 o'clock each evening for dinner. She also helped her mother to milk the animals. She expresses her love for the animals and the sadness for not seeing them after escaping from the Chinese into Nepal.

Tsering Kyima explains how people in her region lived in ba 'tents made from yak hair' rather than houses. Six people lived in her family's ba, which had space for storing grains and milk and a mud stove for the fire. She also talks about another type of tent that the nomads take with them when they moved in search of fresh grasslands while the ba remained the permanent home.

After returning home one evening from grazing the animals Tsering Kyima learned that the Chinese had reached the other side of the mountain pass and it would be dangerous for the nomads to remain. She describes the panic and helplessness among the people and animals when Chinese horsemen began to fire at them with cannons and machine guns. She attempted to save the frightened cattle but had to abandon all the animals only to save her own life as the Chinese got closer. She and many others lost all the belongings they had hastily saddled onto yaks during the escape. She suffered thirst and hunger through the long, arduous journey to Nepal.

Interview Team:

  • Katharine Davies Samway (Interviewer)
  • Henry Tenenbaum (Videographer)
  • Palden Tsering (Interpreter)
Interview Video

Link: Watch On Youtube

Topic: Interview with Tsering Kyima on 4/13/2015

Length: 01:12:11

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