Name: Karma Lhakyi
Interview Age: 75
Date of Birth: 1940
Birthplace: Kyenyar, Utsang, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1959
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 41N
Location: Paljorling, Pokhara, Gandaki, Nepal
Categories: Culture and History
Keywords: childhood memories, customs/traditions, escape experiences, nomadic life, Utsang, clothing/weaving, food/drink
Karma Lhakyi was born in the nomadic region of Kyenyar in Ngari, Utsang Province. She grew up caring for goats, sheep and yaks and describes what life was like in this nomadic region. Their lives were completely dependent on their animals for food, clothing and shelter. She expresses her feelings about the difficult life that nomads led, especially when it rained during the summer. During winter everything lay covered in snow with hardly any grass to feed the animals. Water was difficult to find for animals and humans as well.
Karma Lhakyi explains how the nomads survived during the harsh winter months like sleeping next to their animals for warmth. She describes the process of producing butter and cheese from milk and spinning and weaving wool. Her mother taught her to watch carefully over the animals and if a wolf came Karma Lahkyi would scream and use her slingshot. She tells how illness was rare and about the use of healing herbs. She also explains which animals were slaughtered for meat and how all parts were consumed except for the horns and hoofs.
Karma Lhakyi's family heard stories about Chinese atrocities so her family left Tibet. Their goats and sheep perished in the heavy snowfall along the way. They suffered from the scarcity of food and were afflicted by various ailments that claimed the lives of her parents.
- Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)
- Katharine Davies Samway (Interviewer)
- Dhiraj Kafle (Videographer)