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Changes of wetland pasture in the eyes of a young herdsman

By Joyce Zhong (China Tibet Online)

08:53, May 24, 2013

Garu Gyatso, a young Tibetan herdsman [Photo/Chen Weiguo]

Garu Gyatso, 34, is an ordinary young herdsman in Ruoergai County of Aba prefecture, Sichuan Province, whose family has been nomads for generations. The life of the Gyatsos has been going through great changes, since ecology protection measures were taken in Ruoergai wetland from 2010.

"Having been enlarged, the wetlands are much bigger than before. The grass also grows better and there is more water in the dam", Gyatso said, when asked about the changes brought by the construction of the dam on wetland for water conservation.

Made up of seven members including his parents, wife and children, Gyatso's family are now living in a herdsman settlement beside the Ruoergai wetland. Gyatso's 29-year-old wife and his parents usually graze yaks in a meadow near home, while he himself grazes Tibetan sheep in the meadow by the wetland.

Gyatso said, "We used to herd yaks wherever there were grass. In winter days, my parents had to live in cold rooms, so did my wife with our babies. At that time, we could hardly bear illnesses. If someone fell ill, we had to ride a horse to the road where we could get a lift. Sometimes it took us as long as four to five hours to arrive at the hospital. But now a new hospital has been built next to our settlement. It will be very convenient for the elderly and children if they have common ailments."

The Gyatsos have three children aged nine, eight, and four respectively. "The elder two study Tibetan and Chinese in a primary school in the Red Star Town. They can write many words in Tibetan as well as in Chinese. If they do well in school when they grow up, I will send them outside for further study", Gyatso said.

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