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A song of national unity: He has “taken” the village’s prettiest girl

By Liu Fang Source:China Tibet News 2019年10月18日 12:02

This is a story of marriage.

This is also a song of national unity.

Following a tributary of Jindong River and stepping into Nang County’s Songmucai Village in falling drizzle, Songmucai Village is 76 km from the seat of Nang County, Ningchi City, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. All its villagers have moved to the newly built village and lived in new houses last year, while the village’s former location is just above this new one. This place, neat and clean with villa-style dwellings, surround by green mountains, arouses one’s curiosity on its story and people.

Wang Zongyuan and Phuntso Chodron live in one of these new houses. This Han man Wang Zongyuan from Tianzhu County of Gansu Province has married the Tibetan woman Phuntso Chodron in 2000. When we arrive at the village,another team of reporters is interviewing the couple, whose story is known far and wide.

Lorsang Dorje, the deputy director of the village committee, talks about Wang Zongyuan, “He speaks fluent Tibetan. When he first came here he couldn't do any farm work. Now he is able to do everything.In recent years, being unanimously elected as a village doctor, he has learned a lot from many county and township trainings, and been always on call with no delay when villagers get sick. If anyone in the village has a problem, he will come out and help. All villagers here like him very much for being easy to get along with.”

It is a little cold because of the rain, soWang Zongyuan introduces us to the kitchen of their home. A Tibetan-style kitchen normally holds the function of a living room, where people can chat, drink tea, have a meal, rest, is a place that makes guests relax and comfortable. There is hot fire in an iron stove, warming the whole kitchen.

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Wang Zongyuan and Phuntso Chodron take  a photo with parents. [China Tibet News/Drakpa Wangchen]

“We knew each other in my truck,” Wang Zongyuan says. When he was young at his 26, he left his home town and worked as a truck driver in Jindong Village of Tibet. He met 24-year-old Phuntso Chodron as a hitchhiker for several times and got acquainted with her, but it was the relatives’ matchmaking thathelped them truly committed to a relationship and got married soon after. “She was very beautiful when she was young, and she is still beautiful now.”He says, smiling as he takes her hand. At that year’s race festival, a villager who could speak some Mandarin told him that he had "taken" the prettiest girl in the village.

When Wang Zongyuan and Phuntso Chodron just got married, Chodron didn’t speak much Mandarin, both of them often needed to use their hands during talking, thus they had difficulty communicating with each other.Living with Tibetans, the language barrier was Wang’s first problem. “When Chodron took me home for the first time, I didn't understand a word of what theelders were saying, so I didn't know if they liked me or not.“ Wang laughs heartily, “That was all right. We couldn't argue even if we wanted to.”Then the reporters join in the joke and everyone laughs happily.

However, anxiety was his truest state of mind.Wang Zongyuan began to study Tibetan language and pushed himself to speak it. Within a year, he was completely able to communicate with others in Tibetan.

“At that time, transportation was difficult: everything had to be carried by horse from outside to the village; the houses built of earth and stone were also very shabby; domestic water needed to be fetched and carried down from mountain. At the beginning, I didn’t know how to carry water, by the time I got home, the water was half gone and I was all wet,” Wang Zongyuan says, “After marriage, I went to Bomi, Medog, Nagqu and other places to work as a truck driver, builder, and others, she stayed at home to herd and keep house.”Those who have experienced the hardships of life always behave quietly.

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The beautiful Songmucai Village. [China Tibet News/Drakpa Wangchen]

Phuntso Chodroninsisted Wang Zongyuan change his registered permanent residence to Songmucai Village from his hometown, since then Wang had his Tibetan name-- Gyaltsen.

In 2007, Wang Zongyuan took Phuntso Chodron to his hometown. Wang's family gave Chodron thumbs-up and liked her more than he did. The family members were very good to her and did not let Chodron do any housework.When Wang’s parents were alive, the couple went back to Wang’s hometown for several times. After his parents passing away one after another, Wang seldom went back unless there was something important.

The couple has two daughters: The older one is 17 years old, named Mang Linzhi, also called Wangdron in Tibetan, studies at a high school; the younger one, Wang Hongfang, also called Dawa Chodron, is 13, studies at a primary school. The younger daughter has high altitude heart disease, and often needs to see doctors in Nang County or Lhasa City, which is the couple's biggest worry.

Phuntso Chodron’s 76-year-old father and 70-year-old mother are in poor health. Wang Zongyuan treats them like his biological parents, always accompanies and takes care of them. The old father, Menang, is sitting by the stove and can’t stop praising the kindness and filial piety of his son-in-law.

In fact, Wang Zongyuan himself is not in good health. This family of six has little labor and used to be poor,Wang has tried his best to "take off the hat of poverty" and saved up all the money from benefiting-farmers funds to buy agricultural machinery and tools, which has improved the efficiency of family's farming and saved labor.He has also volunteered to help other poor families with farming, becoming an initiative and active pioneer of poverty alleviation in the village.

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A reporter(R) is talking with Wang Zongyuan(M) and Phuntso Chodron (L) at their home. It’s raining and cold outside, but the fire in the room is warm and bright, just like the warm story of this family. [China Tibet News/Drakpa Wangchen]

That's how 19 years goes. “Where there is home, there is peace of mind,” Wang Zongyuan says with smile, “Now the country has built such a nice house for us, we are very warm and happy.The whole house is funded by the state, we just spend a little money to decorate and buy furnitures.” Wang's family of six is given a big house of 154m².

Currently, Wang Zongyuan works as a village doctor and also does other jobs nearby. When he’s not working, he grazes over 20 cows of the family, as well as farms with his wife. Besides, they set up a plot of land in a greenhouse of the villagecollective to grow vegetables. When talking with reporters, Wang always unconsciously takes Chodron's hand and puts it on his knee. His face is with even deeper plateau redness than his wife.

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Wang Zongyuan and his wife go out to milk. [China Tibet News/Drakpa Wangchen]

As the sky is getting dark, Wang zongyuan and Phuntso Chodron go out to the mountain to milk their cows. While Wang is holding an umbrella, Chodron walks beside him in the fine rain. At a road intersection, we meet several villagers; Wang greets them in fluent Tibetan, which amazes a crowd of reporters.

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