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Mingmar Lama - Tsum Valley, Nepal - Nepali (Global Lives Project, 2013) Life Story Interview Part 1

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My name is Mingmar Lama, and I am 28 years old. village name is Chekampar VDC. ward 9...Located in Gorkha district. In our family we have 4 brothers & 4 sisters... We were all together of eight siblings. First of all my brother... My brother is an army in India. He is Dalai Lama's security guard. Then I have an older sister married at Leru. Another younger sister of mine is a nun at Kopan Nunnery. Then i have a brother who is with me and stays at Shepard house. Then I have a brother who is a monk at Kopan monastery. Then after I have two younger sisters studying at Massurie school in India. It has been two years since my father passed away. And my mother... ...It's been four weeks since my mom passed away. She was also suffered from deadly disease. What she had was that her uterus... She had uterus cancer. I chartered her from village for treatment. I spend as much as I could afford but she passed away in Kathmandu while being treated. first my dad...due to over drinking, his liver got failure. After the liver failure, there was no available treatment. Nothing can be done. We went to good hospitals in Kathmandu like Norvic, Om nursing home, Bir. All of them could couldn't save. The disease has been spread all over. Nothing could be done. So he passed away. So we brought him back to the village after when nothing could be done. At village he can eat and drink as to his wish. I didn't want him to get offended by a single word of mine Wanted him all the happiness. Even if he ask for things that I didn't have, I would bring him anyhow just to make him happy. Because I knew that he wouldn't live for long now... He's going to be just a man for sometime. Told me to take him to China. He said there might be ways for treatment. I said, sure, I will agree your suggestions. We took him on horse with the help from five-six friends of mine. He passed away during the journey just right before crossing the border. When I was at village, I went to government school. Taught up to grade three only. I went to school for three or four days. At village school there was no age restrictions to go to school. Me and my uncles were in the same class. I was very small. While studying with him, I felt like I was studying with my father. He used to bully me and steal my lunch box! After that I stocked four days of food and I ran away to shepherd house. Because elders bullied me. My dad came to get me when I was hiding in there. He said why didn't I go to school? Told me to study hard. And if I wanted to have a difficult life like him. I accepted his request and left shepherd house. He said to go to monastery if I had a problem. Told me that I can also study Tibetan. Our native language. Then I went to Ghungey gomba which is close to my village. My teacher is still at Ghungey. Her name is ani Yeshi Choedon. She taught me very well. I studied well also. Again there was the same case! There were lot of elder and taller students. What they do is to lured me into fights with same age student. Then make us blame each other and make us into fights. And I didn't like it. Again I packed foods for three four days and again ran away to shepherd house. I spend two months there during monsoon season. Then during the winter my dad realized that I was no use here. And thought to sent me somewhere far for education. And so he took me to Kathmandu. I came to Kathmandu when i was 11 years old for schooling. What I felt was that... At village I know every nook and corner of where to go but In Kathmandu I was lost. A sudden move from village to Kathmandu made me lost. I didn't know where the road took me. I was shocked! I didn't know where to get food and where to go. The difference between the life in village and in city that i felt was... ...that the city has a commercial life we have to spent a lot. Even for the toilet, we have to pay money! In village there is clean air and water. If you want to drink water you can drink as much as u can from the river. Even until the rivers dries! Places like in Kathmandu, money matters. This was the difference i witnessed. In one hand money talks and in other hand our freedom. Only the capable ones are survived. In Kathmandu we have to buy cooking gas. But in village we can just collect firewoods. At the beginning I went to Namgyal school. From kinder garden I was promoted to grade one since I got 100 out of 100 in the result. Then from grade one... ...again I was promoted to grade three. My studies was very good during those five years. I stood either first or second position. I couldn't give final exam at grade eight. Because my parents were old. At the village we have to work on fields and also with livestock. I have four brothers and four sisters. I am the second brother. My elder brother was at India. Other siblings were young. Some were nuns and some were monks. That's why it was tough for my parents to work on fields alone. They didn't have enough manpower. So then my mind got diverted towards village. I realized that my parents works so hard. If I am able to help my parents while they are still alive then I will be happy. I won't get a chance to help my parents if they pass away while I am still studying. We should help them when they are still alive. So then later there will be no regret If so then its useless! I dropped out of school to help them as much... I can whether if it would take a year or two. Then I stayed at the village when I was 19 years old. Older brother has the right and responsibility to look after the house. OK! And according to saying, middle son has to become monk. When my dad went to India to meet my elder brother. My brother refused to go to village. OK! He told dad to have me take responsibility of the house. They had already made the decision. He told dad that he won't complain if dad gives the responsibility to me. Dad told us not to break our tradition. Someone should take the responsibility. Then I took responsibility! My brother lives in India. We didn't have frequent communication. We didn't meet often. There was no telephone services like nowadays. He left village at 6 years old! I didn't have contact with my brother when i was at grade seven. I knew I had a brother but I didn't know his whereabouts. That's why I was compelled to look after the house. I had to make decisions. And so I took responsibly. I had a keen interest in animals since I was young. Specially Yaks! And when I was a kid, along with my friends, I used to herd cattle. They were eight years old but I was five! But still, I herd cattle from three houses! Including my aunts and uncles. I used to heard around 30 cattle! In single day! I used to have special bonding with yaks. I used to eat grasses like yaks! I used to act like yak. I used to hang a bell around my neck just like yaks. I used to walk like them with my feet and my hands on the ground. Just like them! And... With my friends we pretend like yaks and used to fight. We bang our heads and fight just like yaks. At the highlands... ...In monsoon, it rains a lot daily . It's very hard to search for Yaks because all places are covered with clouds. It would be very difficult to keep our self-dry. Our cloths get damp. Five in the morning i have to gather female yaks and milk them. OK. And... After milking them, at 8 am we have to take them to graze. Again at around 3 pm we have to gather them and milk again. This is how our daily life goes. And sometimes we have to make butter and curd. Then we have to pack the butter into leather bag. According to the village trend we put them into leather bag. Our duties are very hard. We have to fetch water and fire woods. Take care of new born calves. Even if we don't like, we have to struggle in Shepard life. It's much harder comparing to other work. Shepherds are person who are like kept hidden in the clouds. A different person far away from village. Living at 4000 to 5000 meter high altitude. Neither you see people nor you can see houses. It is very difficult. But what to do. When we have interest in that job, we don't feel the difficulties. And...talking about my marriage and love. Our relation started like this. I was on the way to Kathmandu. She was also going ahead of me. Just right at Jagat when she was going ahead. Near the suspension bridge. I caught up with her. And. I liked her at the first sight! I introduced myself. It was the first time meeting her in my life. We have not met before. We were just strangers. Just after the meeting. We had good conversation. Then later turn into romantic conversation. I fell in love and I proposed her! After the proposal. On the way from Jagat to Tatopani. She already accepted. We fell in love on the way. You fell in love in first journey? Yes, love at first meeting and first journey. It's strange! Very strange! I didn't know who she was, name of her parents... ...where is lived. We fell in love in our first meeting. For two years we didn't get married and... ...we were just in the relationship. After then, I told my parents about her. That we were in relationship. I asked them of how would it be if I get married to her. According to our tradition. My parents went to see the priest. To see if we matched our horoscope. They said we matched! Then according to our tradition. We have to ask her parents. I send my dad to ask her parents to give her. In our village we have to kidnap bride to get married! Just right from near my gate I kidnapped her. Then I worshiped her. My parents gave her gold and gifts. And assets. That's how our marriage and life got together. Ok. Just like that. Within five years we had three children. First we had daughter. Actually... My wife was six months pregnant prior to our marriage. ok. And my daughter was born after three months of marriage. After two years of gap my second daughter was born. Then after... Again after two years our son was born. So you are happy with son? I should say I am happy. Well... I struggled hard for a son after having two daughters. I am happy. Since I am a husband... She brings tea while I am in a bed. And. Second thing is... This is how it goes in the family. My wife does laundry. It sounds simple but she cares me a lot. She does laundry every day in this cold place. It's so cold that I can't even touch the water but she washes my clothes! She forces me to change cloths daily! It's something to get happy about. And... And third thing is whenever I am not with her then she gets worried. For example If I told her that I would get home by five and if I get by six then she gets really worried. Then she sends my friends to search for me. Ok. And then. It shows true relationship. A true sign of love. And the thing that I dislike about her is that she has high temper. She speaks anything without thinking. She argues until she feels better from her point. My response is that I let her talk. A don't respond to her arguments. I let her speak until she gets tired. If I responded to her, then it becomes an argument.

Video Details

Duration: 21 minutes and 19 seconds
Country: Nepal
Language: Nepali
Producer: Rinzin Lama
Views: 107
Posted by: globallives on Nov 7, 2013

This is the first part of the Life Story Interview of Mingmar Lama, an on-screen participant of Lives In Transit from Bajjyo, Nepal.

This is part of a 24-hour recording of a day in the life of Mingmar Lama.

This video was produced by Rinzin Lama, Andrew Mahlstedt, Dawa Yakpa, Yog Shakya, Tenzin Norbu, Ravi Shrestha, Karma Ghale, Santa Bahadur Tamang, Arjun Magar, Tenzin Norbu, Thepe Tamang, Maila Tamang, Santosh, Jit Bahadur Gurung, and Kancha Tamang.

This video is part of the Global Lives Project, a video library of life experience.

For more information please visit

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