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Tibetan Nomads, going to the next settlement. | by reurinkjan
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Tibetan Nomads, going to the next settlement.

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For the Tibetan nomads, life is indeed a struggle in the harsh environment of the high plateau: A place where the ground and winds are in perpetual motion. It is a place where temperatures range from a low of -40 degrees Fahrenheit to around 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. The yak is the key to survival on the Tibetan plateau. A visit to a nomad's tent illustrates this point. The tent itself is made from yak hair. Upon entering, the center of the tent is warmed by the fire of yak dung. The tent is illuminated by yak butter candles, and their blankets are made from yak hair. The principle diet includes tsampa and yak butter, dried yak cheese and sometimes yak meat. A poor family may have 20 yaks or fewer; wealthy families up to 500.


Settling nomads

Government policy aims to settle more and more nomads. It says that this is aimed at improving the economic viability of animal husbandry and lessening the effects of natural disasters on the livelihood of Tibetan herdsmen.

This allows the government to manage the nomadic population as it gives them fixed addresses.


Culture shock


For most nomads, the transition to a more urban lifestyle is difficult.

They are often settled in featureless blocks of housing by the side of roads or in newly created urban areas, and face the problem of creating an entirely new and sustainable livelihood.


Approximately 40% of the ethnic Tibetan population is nomadic or semi-nomadic.

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Taken on September 9, 2010