• Jeff Fuchs

Omu, The Strong


Arriving to a new camp and homestead, Omu sets about going through an unending list of ‘musts’. One of the musts is securing tent ‘fly’ lines of twined yak wool, hammered into the high-altitude turf.

Using a stone picked up casually from the surroundings, Omu pounds homemade wooden pegs at an angle that she will adjust and modify over the coming months. Soon after the tent was erected, tea was served. She remarked once, “when we make our first tea in a place, we are settled”.

Though over the years I've spent months with her family, it is her that the community revolved around and it was her that I marvelled at for all of the vital roles she occupied within her family. It was she and her quiet husband Ajo who decided when to move and when to allow the yak to dictate the journey to more luscious grazing and it was Omu who 'felt' when the seasons were shifting, precipitating a move of her tented household.

It was she too who cared for and understood the yak, it was she who prepared meals, and it was she who prepared tea daily in huge, rich doses. It was her too that was dared not defied. Her two sons and a nephew knew better than anyone that her words and intentions stood.