In the Kham region of Tibet, there are families who have been nomadic herders for thousands of years. Almost everything they need, they get from a herd of yaks who graze on the wide expanse of grassy hills within sight of the distant peaks of the Himalayas. Last fall, Stephanie Guyer-Stevens went to Kham and met a family of nomads and their yaks. She heard about the spirits that protect the holy mountains, and learned about some yak economics. Families now send their kids away to school, and there is increasing pressure for them to join the modern economy. The nomadic life is gradually fading away.
There I was, an Indian woman on the move in a strange new land – Mongolia – and it didn’t feel so strange. So much resonated – especially the voices of other women – like Monjago, a nomadic herder, Munkhtsetseg, a horse trainer, Onika, a student, Amgalan, a language teacher and Jainaa, a singer. They made faraway feel like home.
Bhutan is a land of prayer flags and happiness. But people are people, and human suffering, including domestic violence, is as prevalent here as it is anywhere. Queen Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuk takes her job – creating happiness for the people of her kingdom – seriously – so much so that she treks into the most remote corners of the country to meet the people who she would otherwise never see, to find out about their lives, strategize about health care, and to help end domestic violence.