By Kondro Tsering
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Additional info for Asian Highlands Perspectives, Vol. 17: A Zorgay Tibetan Childhood
She wore old, ragged, patched clothing, and ate tsampa without putting butter in it, to save it for us. No one helped her do farm work and she went out to dig medicinal herbs with Father to earn money, while Grandmother cared for us during the daytime. Mother did twice the work of other women. She once said, "My hard work is for you dear children. " I did not understand the meaning of 'before I leave you' at that time. Time passed quietly and quickly, and everybody admired Mother. When my brothers and sisters got old enough to help her, people said she should rest and enjoy life, for the children were now old enough to work for themselves and make their parents comfortable.
Brother and I found no nicely shaped pebbles, though we searched. Father gave us a few he found that looked like someone had carved them. Brother and I cherished these special, sacred pebbles. We passed three villages near our local township town as the sun was about to say goodbye. We still had quite a way to go and did not pause. Our home is far from the township town, on a high hilltop at the end of a steep path. A saying about our village goes: Be careful if you look up to Lhacar Village, or your hat will fall to the ground and get dusty.
We had new books and new teachers. Everything was new except ourselves. We should have had an unprecedented experience in this grade with serious teaching but it was not to be. I liked the classroom and our schoolbags were heavy with books that had unfamiliar Chinese characters and colorful illustrations. These intrigued us and we wanted to learn as quickly as possible. Brother was too shy to teach me anything from my new books, so I asked Father to teach me, but he did not know Chinese. However, Father wrote my name in Tibetan in each book so I was less likely to lose them.
Asian Highlands Perspectives, Vol. 17: A Zorgay Tibetan Childhood by Kondro Tsering