We come from Tibet. Our names are Tashi and Kunga.
We didn’t come at the same time to Switzerland, but we both had a very similar journey to get here from Tibet. We were nomads in our homeland, mainly herders of animals and such. In winters we would be based in houses, but in summers we would wander all over Tibet to find good grass and water for the herds.
The west could learn something from Tibet, our religion is Buddhism and the people are naturally very calm and friendly to each other. We don’t think of harming anyone and only want peace. But we don’t really have a country anymore.
That is why we decided to run away from the Chinese and try to reach the place of safety...theborder.
The journey is only a 7 or 8-day walk through the mountains and the dessert. It is not far by our standards, but there is great danger at the start. We usually walked at night, as during the day if the Chinese soldiers saw you, they would just shoot at you. For several days we were always afraid that someone would attack or shoot us.
The second danger was that if we were caught, we would be sent to a prison and most likely tortured. Not your simple torture, but the brutal destruction of internal organs.
The more we walked, the more we knew we would be closer to the Nepal border. It was such and amazing feeling when we crossed over into the country. We were safe. There was great joy.
For this joy, we paid a high price. In Tibet there is the idea in Tibet, “Family always stays together.” In Switzerland we are alone and by ourselves, yet, we love everything here. The climate, the mountains and freedom and democracy. You have the freedom of speech to talk about anything. The irony is that the difficult part for us is speaking the language
We are grateful and appreciative of Switzerland to allow us to come for the opportunity. In the future, we hope Tibet will be free, like Switzerland so we can go and live in independence and freedom.
I asked, “Do you think you will go back?”
Both shrugged their shoulders, “we don’t know, we hope one day to be able.”
Inside my heart, I smiled and wept at the same time. If one has freedom we tend to abuse it. If one does not, they understand the meaning of it.
Their names are Tashi and Kunga. They come from Tibet.