It was time to head out again. Yidan and her husband Ah-Ji moved out to Black River Pasture this summer along with the family’s yaks. Their home pasture was not big enough to keep all their animals so they rented her maiden family’s land. I liked her way of working and even though she was shy, she talked slowly with a good voice which I also liked. I wanted to film some more of them together.
It was an easy drive to the Black River pasture. I met Sangku at the nearly empty winter village, had lunch at a tent site set up for local Tibetan travelers and then drove out to Yidan’s pasture, very close to a cell tower.
She walked out of her tent to greet us, wearing the same cloths I remembered seeing her last time. She was still shy but not as giggly anymore. Ah-Ji wasn’t home yet. Sangku stayed to help translate my questions. To my pleasant surprise, Yidan was very willing to do interviews this time. Though she still requested Sangku to be away while she talked, I was fine to stay and film.
Her maiden family’s tent was right next to Yidan’s. They have a sort of a pet goat they raised on yak milk. Two girls giggled around when I filmed. One teenager looked really pretty on horse and had an elegant pose carrying basket. Another family was on the same grassland. The man was annoying and the daughter tried very hard dancing and singing to get my attention.
Very hot. The sun squeezed every ounce of energy out. I walked to a little sandhill to see how to film and got tired after a few steps. Women on the pasture have no time to rest. Yidan had lots of dry yak dung to collect to piles before the afternoon thunderstorm hit — they must have known.
Ah-Ji came back with some vegetables from town — he sent their sons to school there. While Yidan worked, he played chess with Sangku. That’s the way things work with the herders’ family.
Then the loud thunder came, rolling from distance then cracked very low above us. It was another mad dash, by the women of course to secure the covers of the yak dungs.
Sangku and Ah-Ji went back to Black River village, Yidan milked the yaks, prepared dinner, and watched TV while waiting for her husband to come home. I filmed a little bit of them during TV dinner. It was good.