Dorje Dolma's book, "Yak Girl: Growing Up in the Remote Dolpo Region of Nepal," is now available. For more information, visit dorjearts.com
Boulder resident Dorje Dolma hopes to visit the Dolpo region of Nepal during an upcoming visit in March, because it's where she was born. She'll probably take a helicopter ride, however, as it can take two weeks or longer to walk — or, more accurately, trek — to the nearest airport.
"That is one of the main challenges I faced with my family and friends," Dolma said. "That was 20 years ago, and people are still dying. ... My uncle passed away a few weeks sago from what would be a preventable illness."
Dolma said she is donating some of the proceeds from her forthcoming memoir "Yak Girl: Growing Up in the Remote Dolpo Region of Nepal" toward establishing a medical clinic in Dolpo, a remote area that sits 13,000 feet above sea level and his no modern amenities.
The unofficial moniker that graces the title of her book — Yak Girl — springs from the need for a title and the fact that she has herded a yak or two. She has also run off snow leopards, which has become a topic of conversation with people who are fans of the feline.
"I though of myself as a yak girl," she said. "I was herding animals in the mountains. I was herding yaks a lot."
Dolma came to the United States as a child because of health problems. She suffered from scoliosis and had to make the long walk from her home to Kathmandu. While there, a group of westerners arranged to bring her to the United States, where she received life-saving surgery.
An American family adopted her, and she graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in fine arts. She has spent the last several years teaching preschool-aged children.
She said that because of the lack of medical facilities in Dolpo, people will often just pray for illness to go away, and it's not uncommon for a family to lose six or seven members in a single year. Her birth father nearly died from pneumonia two years ago and had to walk 15 days for treatment.
"Both my parents have been very lucky," she said.
Dolma is embarking on a book tour in early 2018 and wants to use the opportunity to raise awareness about the issues facing the Dolpo region and hopefully work toward bringing medical resources to the people who live there.
"I like meeting people," she said. "I hope during the tour that I can meet people who know about setting up medical clinics in remote areas."