Yak Girl

Growing Up in the Remote Dolpo Region of Nepal

$18.95

This unusual memoir immerses us in the fascinating story of a spirited girl in a remote, undeveloped region of Nepal near the border of Tibet, a place made known to the world in Peter Matthiesen’s The Snow Leopard. Life above 13,000 feet in Upper Dolpo—often called the last paradise because of its breathtaking snow-capped peaks, untouched beauty, and hand-irrigated green pastures—was one of constant risk and harsh survival.

Dorje’s life centered around the care of her numerous younger brothers and sisters and the family’s sheep, goats, and yaks. At age five she began herding and was soon taking the animals high in the mountains, where she fought off predatory wolves and snow leopards. Covering her first ten years, the story takes Dorje from her primitive mountain village to the bewildering city of Kathmandu, and finally to a new home in America, where she receives life-saving surgery.

With humor, soul, and insightful detail, the author gives us vividly told vignettes of daily life and the practice of centuries-old Tibetan traditions. This wonderful and surprising tale of survival, loss, and self-reflection offers us entry to this difficult, yet magical, place.

Praise for Yak Girl

 

“A rare and fascinating testimony, told from the inside, of a little girl who made an incredible trip from inner Dolpo to America—and from the Middle Ages to the 21st century.”

—Eric Valli, director of the Oscar-nominated film Himalaya

“This Dolpo native’s expression of life as a young girl in her remote homeland is the best way to truly experience and understand the untold story of its unique culture and traditions.”

                        — Tenzin Norbu, internationally known artist and illustrator, native of Dolpo

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about the author

Dorje Dolma

Dorje Dolma was born in the remote Dolpo region of Nepal, high in the mountains bordering Tibet. She was the oldest of eleven children, only six of whom survived the harsh conditions of their lives. Dolpo had no running water, electricity, motor vehicles, phones, school, or doctors, other than the local lamas, trained in the use of herbs and prayer. Dorje began herding the family’s goats and sheep at age five and by seven she was defending them from attacks by wolves and snow leopards. When she was ten, Dorje’s parents took her on a month-long trek to Kathmandu to find help for a serious health condition. There they encountered Westerners who arranged to bring Dorje to the United States and get her the surgery she needed to save her life. Adopted by her new American family, Dorje eventually graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in Fine Arts. She worked as an early childhood teacher in Boulder, Colorado, and now continues to develop her art. Her website is dorjearts.com. Yak Girl: Growing Up in the Remote Dolpo Region of Nepal is her first book.