Tibetan Mail Carrier Delivers Letters of Her Life on Foot
   2011-05-23 10:27:54    Xinhua      Web Editor: Zhang

Nima Lamu [File Photo: womenofchina.cn]

"Which is more important to you, letters or life?"

"Life is important, and so are letters. While being loaded on me, letters have been part of my life," Nima Lamu said in response to the question posed by a foreign representative at the annual meeting of the Universal Postal Union held in Switzerland early May.

Nima Lamu, 35, has spent 12 years delivering letters and parcels in a rural area of southwest China's Yunnan Province.

She works in Deqin County in Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, where the altitude ranges from 1,000 to 4,500 meters. Her mail route covers 350 kilometers, requiring seven days for a round-trip on foot.

In 12 years, she has never lost a single letter or parcel.

"I'm just doing what I'm supposed to do," said Nima Lamu, who came to Beijing on Friday and received media interviews at the headquarters of China Post Group Corporation (China Post).

While walking her route, she has learned how to avoid falling rocks and landslides. She has also learned to prepare herself for potential animal attacks.

"I'm most terrified of snakes. Every time I see one, I scream and scare it away," she said, smiling. "Luckily, the snakes are not poisonous."

Initially, her husband Ashibu, a private truck driver for a transportation business, opposed her job and preferred for her to stay at home.

"Other wives cooked every day and accompanied the family, but I had to do almost all chores," Ashibu said.

As time went by, he gradually stopped arguing with her and started helping her.

"He helps me sort out letters and make deliveries with his truck sometimes. He has become an 'acting mailman,'" she laughed.

Feng Xinsheng, deputy general manager of China Post, said that because many villages in remote China have no access to pavement, nearly 10,000 mail routes rely on horses, camels or walking letter carriers.

There are 15,000 people who, like Nima Lamu, deliver mail on foot, but few are females, according to Feng.

"Because Diqing is a Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, we need people who have a good command of both Tibetan and Mandarin," he said. "Nima is the most appropriate one for the job."

Nima Lamu said "the happy faces of villagers" who receive letters inspires her to stick with her job.

She also takes great delight in delivering College Admission Notices.

Upon receiving a College Admission Notice, she departs immediately to personally deliver it to the student.

"I'm very pleased as they happily receive the notices and say, 'Thank you,'" she said. "The more notices I deliver, the more hopeful my hometown will be."

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