My name is Tsewang Laga and I am 17 years old. I haven't seen my father for a single day since I was born. I heard from my relatives that my father died in a car accident when my mother was 5 months pregnant with me. After my mother gave birth to me, she left me to my grandmother and left us. So I grew up without any memory of my mom and dad, I always called my aunt mom and my uncle dad. My aunt had three daughters and I was the only boy in the family. We lived with my aunt's family in a bungalow in Nangqian County. Although the conditions were tough sometimes, our family lived together happily.
When I was six years old, my uncle died in an accident, and I became the only man in the family. It was very difficult for my aunt to support us four children, as well as my grandmother. My aunt doesn’t speak mandarin, and could not find a job. Our family's income was dependent on us foraging the yartsa gunbu herb. Fortunately, my sisters are very hardworking, and all of them are now attending college. I was the only one who didn't make it to high school because I was a few points shy in the entrance exam. I was so depressed when the results came out that I told my aunt and grandmother that I didn't want to pursue an education anymore. I told them that I wanted to work to help ease the stress on my family. But my grandmother and aunt disagreed, and they told me that I should never give up on obtaining an education. My aunt's friend recommended Cixing School to her, and on the first day of the new semester, my grandmother asked my aunt to bring me to the school for registration, afraid that I might just skip school to work if I went alone. I chose the Tibetan language program when I arrived at the Cixing school last year, and I’m currently a sophomore.
I soon found out that all students here came from underprivileged families just like mine, and they were all studying very hard. We all know that education is the only way through which we can exercise control over our own fate, and it is also a hard-won opportunity. I enjoy studying with my peers and dancing with them when we have the time. I like to practice soccer and traditional Tibetan dances when I have the time to myself. Every time there is a school-wide event, I always sign up for dancing. Dancing allows me to break free and express my whole being through it.
My goal is to attend college and major in physical education. In the future, I will return to my hometown to be an elementary school P.E teacher and have a stable source of income. I need to take care of my grandmother and aunt and provide for them when they can’t look after themselves someday. I especially cherish the opportunity to go to school. The education is free, so my aunt doesn’t have to worry too much about supporting me through school. Every weekend when I go home, my grandmother would give me some allowance, but I don’t want to take them, because I know that my grandmother saved all that money from collecting and selling cardboard boxes. But grandma was always afraid that I would be hungry when I returned to the dorm after my evening sessions. I don’t want her to be worried about me, so I would always take the money from my grandmother and secretly save it up for college later.