Updated: Mar 13
Bimala went to see the yak herder, who makes the dog-chews that we once thought of selling. He lives in a small hut, with his 35 yaks, old dog and two children. Some countries will not accept these products, such as Australia. But the article shows us something of the region.
When people in the West buy his dog-chews, it is perhaps good to see who you are helping when you buy.
You see, these are not a product just to help you, and your dog. They are to help everyone. You buy these dog-chews for your pet, and people who earn very little also get help from that purchase. So do their children, and so does even his old dog and his yak herd.
The yak herder lives in the jungle. It took Bimala two days to get there. First she had to bus up through the mountains to the local village, and then she had to walk the rest of the way.
You can see form the photos, how the journey went. Along the way she encountered historically old signs in languages long forgotten, etched into stone, old Buddhist languages, like Pali, no longer written or understood.
There was a large lake and waterfall in the mountain for cleanliness. You can see the peak of Sagarmatha Mountain, not far off. They were very high up. The temperature goes well below freezing. But as the spring temperature warms, he moves to another place way further up into the mountains.
The yak herder's children helped Bimala find mushrooms and they decided to light a fire and cook them. The food up there you either brought in on your back, or you find it in the jungle, like they did with the mushrooms. Their mother had died many years ago. It is a hard life in the mountains. Bimala's visit was very welcome, to break the family solitude.
Bimala was introduced to how the herder made the yak-chews, and what he did, with salt and lemon, to make the chews hard. She was even introduced to the proud yaks, who viewed her with great suspicion. Bimala smiled at the yaks and they went off to another part of the jungle in search of something she did not know what of.
The yak herder explained that twenty years ago there was an earthquake in the local town, and he fled to the jungle and has stayed there ever since, with his yaks, his dog, and his children. One day, he said, after his children have gone to the big cities, it will just be him and his yaks, and some memories.
Life always has an ending, and it was time for Bimala to find her way back to Kathmandu. She had a four hour walk to get through the jungle, down the mountain, to get to a road, followed by a long bus trip to make her way back to what they call civilization in the Himalayas.
So now, reader, you know something of the life of our yak herder and his family. Bimala explained after she got back, how the milk from the yak, tasted so different to cow milk. Yaks ate from the life of the jungle and all its nutrients. It was a good journey and one that will be made again.