Refugees: From Yaks to Yodels

In the tiny Swiss mountain village of Unterwasser, near the Austrian border, live people with names like Tsering Ken-chock, Tashi Samdup and D'Olma Doji. Instead of being apple-cheeked blonds, they are brown-faced, black-haired, almond-eyed, and smell faintly of rancid yak butter.

All 23 of the new villagers are Tibetan refugees who were flown in to Zurich two months ago by chartered plane. Their Unterwasser home has an elevation of 3,000 ft., only about one-fourth that of Tibet, but Switzerland lies 15° north of their Asian homeland and the climatic conditions are much the same. Explains Lama Wangyal about the extraordinary transplant:...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!