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Sonam Tenzin has a clear understanding of what modern material wealth would mean to him: treatment and medication for his elderly, disabled mother, and his aunt and uncle; repaying his mortgage; and a good education for his two sons.
However, Tenzin lives in Nyingchi, a prefecture-level city in the area around the Yarlung Zangbo River basin in the southeast of the Tibet autonomous region, where making a living has never been easy.
Most residents live on the meager crops they grow on the sparse farmland and the money earned from selling the matsutake mushrooms they pick in the local forests.
The 27-year-old Tibetan is separated from his wife, so he singlehandedly supports his sons and his three aging relatives.
“We are just getting by. After all, I have to manage all the ins and outs myself,” he said.
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