Imminent Hailstorm

My Name is Tenzing Takhla, a proud member of this village for thirty-four years of my life. My family has been part of this hardworking and prestigious village for hundreds of years, known as a family of builders. From a young age my Grandfather, Father and Uncles taught me the expertise of being the best builder in our village. I have mastered many types of construction, from working with iron to woodwork; I intend to pass on this skill to my four children. When I was younger I had an interest in adventure and exploring the places my elders had told me about, but being a small child wandering into a dangerous steep jungle with no path was not safe. This dilemma sparked my interest in becoming a type of builder that would allow people from the village to explore outside and allow foreigners’ to explore our own wonderful village and experience the harmony between nature, humans and faith. At the age of fourteen I began to build bridges in and around the village as a way for people to come and go from our village. As a young apprentice builder I spent a lot of my time on my own building small bamboo bridges and paths over small canyons and gorges, some of which are still in use today. My mother was always angry with me because of the dangers of discovering and inventing paths to the unknown. I do not come from a village with ancient history, but rather only a couple hundreds since my ancestors cleared the land and began to plant crops such as corn and barley. My village was a nomadic tribe long before they ever settled here, relying on yak and cattle as the main resource. I’ve heard stories of villages struggling on the steppe because of the few remaining tigers eating their yak.

Village life is a very close family orientated lifestyle in which everyone serves a specific role contributing to the communal prosperity of the community. I live around the people from my guild but everyone is very influential and welcomed into each other’s lives. Within the village we have a diverse set of occupation and jobs that people undertake. Although people have specific jobs, we still do help and teach each other our refined skill sets. It was not too long ago that the monks, artists and builders of our village worked to together to reconstruct a temple that was destroyed long ago. Without the farmers in our village we would be starving, thus it goes to show that our village does not revolve around the prospect of monetary rewards but rather the idea that we have much as we need, just as the Buddha preached. Although our village has tried to preserve its Buddhist lifestyle and teaching we still remain in contact with the outside. White prayer flags are hung from house to house connecting their wooden slopping roves. Along with our friendly relationship with neighboring villages and tribes, we tend to offer help to those exploring the Tibetan region. Part of what drives the economy and well being of our village is our ability to lend supplies and Sherpa’s to people looking to explore nearby territory such as Pemako and the Tsangpo gorge. I have also lent my knowledge of Tibet to tourists and researchers by guiding them through lands that only the native Tibetans have explored, gaining the reputation as quite a respectable guide in Tibet.

A couple days ago a rumor spread that one of the elders had predicted a hailstorm to ravage our village in the coming weeks. Although there have been many destructive natural disasters in my time I have to yet to experience the wrath of hailstorms long talked about in the ancient scriptures. Many of the structures I built were damaged or destroyed by large amounts of snow, wind and in the very rare case an avalanche. I am not sure if I truly believe the rumor of the hailstorm, because of the mythological premise behind it. As children we were taught about Milarepa, a Tibetan saint who destroyed much landed through his ability to muster up hailstorms. With all the mysticism surrounding the hailstorm some believe that black magic has played a part in the coming disaster causing parts of the community to look for an Ngak-pa. An Ngak-pa is a sort of magician that has the ability to ward of hailstorms; in return all they desire is land or grain. I do understand this view towards the hailstorms as I have been taught this for very long, but on the other hand, I’ve heard on many occasions of false rumors being spread to cause anarchy among a village for someone’s personal benefit. Although I am not usually a skeptic, I am not studied enough in the patterns weather or in the history of actually hailstorms to believe a rumor that started not too long ago.

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