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Thousand miles way home for holiday
update:February 06,2018

"The bus drivers are experienced and know about the road conditions -- a third of the roads from Xining to Yushu are frozen earth. The police car is in the front leading the way to keep the bus from speeding," said Kumjo Doje.

"We have carried out the task for eight years, and this year, there are 15 groups of students to escort," he said. Teachers also accompany the students back home.

Sonam Wenjam has received state funding during his study in Shenyang, but his parents also send him a monthly allowance of 1,000 yuan ($158).

"My father herds cattle in the Chongda township in Yushu city. I used to dig for caterpillar fungus to help support the family when I was in primary school, but after I went to middle school, my father said I had to focus on my studies so that I can go to better schools in more developed places," he said.

In Shenyang Xiangyu Middle School, Sonam Wenjam gets up at 5:30 am every morning and stays up until 11 pm studying. He has 13 classes in Tibetan language and culture every week.

"Our Tibetan-language teacher is also from Yushu. He wears traditional Yushu Kangba robes in class, which reminds me of home," he said.

"Studying in the city is an eye-opener. The books are more up-to-date," he said.

"But the bad thing about the city is that it has smog," he said. "And there are mosquitoes -- we hardly see them in our hometown," said Soam Palde, a student from Golog Tibetan autonomous prefecture.

Sonam Wenjam bought down coats and sweaters for his family. "In a few days, there will be the Tibetan new year," he said.

He keeps a fountain pen given by the Yushu prefectural governor, who visited the Shenyang school in December last year.

"My dad is a herdsman, but he writes Tibetan words beautifully. I'm giving this pen to him as a new year's gift," the 17-year-old said.

After the new year holiday, the students will embark on another journey from home to school.

"I'm very lucky. Compared with many students back home, I have better education and more opportunities to learn. In the future, I hope I can make my hometown a better place through my own strength," he said.


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