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ChemiDorjee, the Stoic Postman on the Sichuan-Tibet Postal Route
ChemiDorjee, the Stoic Postman on the Sichuan-Tibet Postal Route2018-03-31

ChemiDorjee was born into a poor family in Dêgê County, southwest China's Sichuan Province.

He had to quit junior high school and help to do farm work.

Since cars were rare in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Garzê at that time, ChemiDorjee was fascinated whenever he saw green military vehicles and postal cars passing by.

He spent one yuan (about 0.159 U.S. dollar) on a book about car repair and construction at the age of 18 and figured out how to repair a car and drive it, which earned him a high reputation in the county.

Thus, ChemiDorjee stood out from countless candidates and was selected when Dêgê Postal Office bought its first postal car and recruited drivers in 1989.

He started to work at the Garzê mail car station in 1999 and drove back and forth between the Garzê-Dêgê section of the Sichuan-Tibet postal route, which had the highest altitude of 5,050 meters and the worst traffic conditions.

The road is covered with ice and snow for half of the year.  Mountain mudslides and landslides often occur in the summer, and a car may be trapped in half a meter of thick snow and is hard to shovel out in the winter.

There were only gravel roads in the past and postal cars could easily blow tyres.

It would take a postman two hours to change a 100-kilogram-tire.

What's worse, the snow on the road will be frozen immediately after being crushed because of the low temperature. Cars may slide down the cliff with people inside even if skid chains are used.

What mail carriers are afraid of is natirvik, which is just like a typhoon at sea or a sand storm in the desert.

Cars can't run at all when a natirvik comes, and the road ahead is totally invisible when that weather phenomenon occurs.

ChemiDorjee and his colleagues were once trapped by heavy snow on the mountain, and were so cold that their hands and feet were totally numb. They burned the wood blocks of a packing box as well as a spare wheel to warm up and drive away the wolves.

They usually prepare two or three days’worth of food before setting out for work as they may trapped in the mountain for a week.

Mail carriers may not meet a person or a car during a day on the postal route because of the terrible environment.

At this time, they may become homesick. They can't unite with family members at festivals because they can't take leave at that time.

ChemiDorjee was even robbed on the postal route. The scoundrels hacked him with a knife, cracked his head, and hamstrung his hands and arms . His back and legs were hurt, and four of his ribs were broken.

ChemiDorjee has a titanium alloy implant in his skull after this accident and his left hand and arm can't move.

Thanks to a veteran practitioner of TCM, ChemiDorjee recovered after several months and was able to work again.

“In addition to my family and colleagues, I should thank the track laborers on the postal route who always rushed to the spot right away when we were trapped and brought us hot meals. They will do everything possible to find us if our postal car doesn't pass the track,” said ChemiDorjee.

A friend once persuaded ChemiDorjee to give up delivering mail and run a transportation business together, which can earn good money.

“But I refused. What are in my postal car are college entrance examination results, the Party newspapers and confidential documents, and e-business parcels, which are the villagers’ hope and expectation,” he said.

“I received the 'China Transport Leader Brand' medal on behalf of Kangting-Dêgê postal route fleet in 2016. The honor not only belongs to our team, but also to the postal generation which continues to serve the Snow Line Postal Route. And I won the '2016 Top 10 Touching Traffic Characters' award in 2017. As an ordinary mail carrier, I just do what I should. I felt very proud to get such a high honor. The snow route is my life road,” ChemiDorjee said.

He submitted the application for joining the Party last November, hoping to do more things for the enterprise.

(China Post)

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