Raising yaks in northwest Sichuan's Ruoergai

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Publish Time: 2019-10-29 Author: Cui Hui'ao From: CGTN

At Ruoergai, myriad shades of green can make you forget your worries.

Fifty-two-year-old Gedun Tashi is Tibetan. He has lived on this grassland all his life. His day begins when most people are still asleep, riding on horseback to move his 400 yaks to pasture and checking on their health – looking for signs of wolf attacks. He says yaks are everything to his family.

"Summertime is crucial for pasturing because the grass has greened. We make money by selling yak butter, milk tea, and yaks. That earns us more than 100,000 yuan a year, which is enough for my family," said Gedengzhaxi.

Gedun Tashi practices Tibetan Buddhism when he is not in the fields. /CGTN Photo

His wife Zhou Me's job is to milk the yaks, from six in the morning to 11 at night. The couple's son Gonpo Langya lives with them for now. He was born and raised on the grassland, but went to college in Chengdu, and is about to start graduate school.

He said the biggest influence rural life has had on him is teaching him to accept things. "People who live on mass grassland love nature and do not have big dreams or ambitions. They don't feel the pressure. They are not pressured to pursue certain things. They are easily satisfied with their life and what they have."

The entire family lives in a tent in the summer, with little entertainment, and barely any cellphone signals. And yet, life seems full of serenity and joy.

They eat zanba for lunch and dinner, which is made of highland barley flour, Tibet ghee and sugar, and drink Tibetan butter tea. In their free time, practicing Tibetan Buddhism is part of their daily routines.

Raising yaks is what Gedun Tashi does for living. /CGTN Photo

In the winter, they leave the tent in the mountain and move into their apartment in a nearby village. Herding continues, but in a different location.

Not far from where Gedun Tashi and his family's tent is the Yellow River, China's second-longest river. Here the waterway takes its first bend at the junction of three provinces: Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu. The S shape is formed as Yellow River meets with the White River in Tangke village.

A well traversed scenic spot located to the west of the town, the first Bend of Yellow River possesses its unique beauty, of which the most admirable view happens at sunset when the gentle light glanced off the silently flowing river. It is also known as the oases in Plateau of Northwest Sichuan.

Abundant water and good light and heat conditions have made Ruoergai a suitable area for pasturing, and nurtured generations of Tibetans.

"My family has been herding by the Yellow River for decades. Every winter, our yaks drink its water and eat the grass. We Tibetans are thankful for this river," said Gedun Tashi.

It is this poetic and idyllic scenery that has created the most harmonious melody in the grassland.

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