Gombo's Prayers on the Plateau
When most people think about China in the 21st century, they picture the big coastal megacities like Beijing or Shanghai. But that’s only a small part of the picture. For this episode, we traveled out west to Qinghai Province, which has an area the size of France but a population of just six million people. The region where Qinghai and southern Gansu Province meet has long been a frontier zone, a point of contact for many different ethnic groups, including people who still live a nomadic lifestyle. Today it is one of the poorest regions in China and has been the focus of intensive development even as many people who live there try and preserve their traditional lifestyle and distinctive culture.
We talk to Gombo, who was raised in a Mongolian nomadic family and went on to be the first in his area to graduate from college. Gombo describes his life growing up in a nomad camp, how Tibetan Buddhism continues to be a significant part of his life, and how he pursued his education and career in modern China. Today, Gombo works in the travel industry with the company Elevated Trips based out of Xining.
Gombo is also a very talented musician and he shared with us some of his songs which you can hear as part of the episode.