Three Fellows

Trip to Zeku, Qinghai, China

Nov 19~26 2009


About Zeku

Published on 1-Dec-2009 by Ray Fried

		TibetanZeku is the home of about 6000 Amdo Tibetans. It is located about 150 miles south and west of Xining. The following comments are largely taken from An Agriculture Report.

Winters are long and harsh and the growing season short. There is no frost-free season. The dates of the first and last killing frosts are variable and frost can occur any day of the year. The growing season is from May to September. The annual precipitation is 14" of rain. The elevation of Zeku village is almost 12,000 feet. The village is surrounded by mountains.

Nomadic Economy

Woman Washing ClothingThe surrounding area is entirely dependent on a livestock economy. The herders were formerly nomads and tent-based but now have permanent winter quarters and only live in tents on the summer pastures. Herders in Zeku are Amdo Tibetan. The level of literacy of older herders is low but now that they have permanent dwellings in Zeku, children receive education. Dairy products and meat are important in herders’ diets and cereals are also widely consumed. Animal products are bartered for household necessities as well as being marketed.

The livestock are mainly yak and sheep of local breeds. Yak are essential to subsistence for dairy production, as a source of down and hair, and for meat. They are also marketed. Goats and ponies are kept in relatively small numbers. The motorcycle is replacing the pony for personal transport on the grasslands.

Livestock, especially yak, are very small and it is said that the weight of yak has decreased by about 40 percent in the past thirty years.



Most Tibetans practice Tibetan Buddhism which includes the concept of emptiness of inherent existence. See Wikipedia for more information.

Prayer flags as shown in the picture below are common to Buddhist both in Tibet and Nepal.

This picture was taken at a high point in Zeku village.HighPoint

Notice the long sleeves on this man's traditional Tibetan clothing!

The 2nd most followed religion in the area is Islam.

Why Zeku

Published on 1-Dec-2009 by Ray Fried

Home of Global Nomad

Global Nomad is an international IT outsourcing company started and operated for the purposes of:

  • Regional Financial Development - Because of its remoteness, the people of the region have few resources by which to earn an income.
  • Resource Development - Broadband Internet is now available even in this remote area of the Tibetan Plateau. With proper training, the Internet can bring new sources of income as well as whole new consumer markets to people who have never before had such easy access to the outside world.
  • Prevention of "Brain Drain" - One of the major problems that China's rural areas are facing today is the problem of "brain drain" - the loss of nearly all educated people to work in larger cities. This creates many social and economic problems for both the rural areas as well as the cities.

Global Nomad Facility Global Nomad was started in 2005 by Bert Verbeeke of Holland. It has grown to employ a staff of 5 Tibetan web page designers, a marketing department, a finance department, and a personnel department. It is housed in a clean, modern facility with plenty of floor space and a heating plant!

At the time of our visit, Global Nomad had a backlog of work. Designers were doing graphic design, flash, PHP, quality verification and other things.

If you or an organization that you know of is interested in outsourcing your web site development, I would strongly suggest that you contact Global Nomad.

Our visit to Zeku

Below is a picture of our room in Zeku. We could go through about one of the white containers of Yak dung behind the stove in two days along with 1/3 of the other container of good hard coal. Of course the water was packed in and the ashes packed out. The tea kettle was always full of hot water. Yes, that is frost on the windows.

What you cannot see is the 50' path outside that leads to a small building with only a door and one 2X6 removed from the floor that empties to a pit. No light switch, no porcelain, no water flush! On the other hand, trips outside at night were so brilliant with bright stars - the result of high altitude, low humidity and low pollution.

Our Appartment