Growing up in the remote Dolpo region of Nepal
Author: Dorje Dolma
The after holiday doldrum has you down. You’re tired from throwing out Christmas cards and wrap. The house is chaos. A bit of sitting on the pity pot. And then you decide to pre-order Yak Girl on Amazon.com and as you read, you feel…blessed and exhilarated. Like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Yak Girl’s true protagonist, Dorje Dolma, fills a book with her vibrancy, resilience and supreme courage. Dorje is real – as is her amazing childhood story of growing up in the remote Dolpo region of Nepal. As a shepherd at four and five years old, Dorje fought off snow leopards and wolves to keep her large herd of sheep and yaks safe as she drove them into mountain fields to find fodder. Her parents worked all day and into the evening in the fields as their children worked at the other tasks required for survival in this small mountain region (15,000 ASL). Five of her siblings died from disease. Dorje herself was struck with severe scoliosis, and she will die before she is ten, unless…
Within the “unless,” Dorje’s gentle parents finally walk with their diseased child in a life-threatening trip that takes a month to Kathmandu to find help for their daughter. They cannot sustain another death in the family. The trip is by foot over 15,000-foot ASL mountain trails that goats have trouble traversing, but they make it to Kathmandu where they hope to find medical assistance for their daughter. They are desperate for help.
As Dorje’s childhood reveals her life on the high mountains as she watches over the family’s yaks, odz, horses, goats and sheep, we see her courage and learn how children work at full time and dangerous tasks at an early age. But Dorje has a serious desire to not only be healthy but to be educated and to learn – after all, her father is a holy man, a lama, and through the beautiful, harsh landscape, Dorje emerges like the sun.
Finding help through an American woman, Mommy Lea, and an agency that can send her to the United States for the surgery she needs, Dorje is adopted by her American helpers and gets her chance for education.
So compellingly austere, so stoically beautiful, the simple life od Dorje’s family and their unfaltering quest for food and sustenance high in the remote mountainous regions of Nepal allows us into another culture where the average life span of the Dolpo people is fifty or sixty years old.
Exquisitely written and relevant, we enter the world of a little Nepalese child who conquers her world and creates her future as she travels to the U.S. leaving her family behind to embrace her new American family. Four major surgeries later, Dorje emerges to attend college and write this story of eloquence and hope. Wonderful.
- We received a copy of this book to review
- Yak Girl is available for purchase on Amazon.com and other book retailers