The beginning of the story of Lama Yonten Sangpo and Lama Karma is very similar. Even if a few years passed between the two journeys towards India.
It was like that for all our senior monks, until the creation of our school: a long, long journey towards India!
BTW Lama Yonten Sangpo and Lama Karma are NOT brothers. Just coming from the same village.

Lama Yonten Sangpo and Lama Karma were both born in the last village of Nepal, before the Chinese border, in Upper Mustang. The name of the village is Phende Ling, but its inhabitants call it “Chung Jung”.

The ethnic composition of the village is completely Tibetan. People’s habits, food, tradition, and of course, religion, are from central Tibet.

In the Chung Jung village, there is the tradition that each family has to have a son who becomes a monk. The child destined to the monastery is the second born one.

Lama Yonten Sangpo was that child.

Lama Karma is the child in the middle. The monk behind was the "elder monk"

Lama Karma was the third child, but his older brother didn’t want to join the monastery, so they sent Lama Karma.

Lama Karma went to the monastery when he was 7 or 8 years old with two other boys. There, a small lock of hair was cut from the top of his head, and he was given a spiritual name. They told him now you are a monk. You can stay here and eat at the monastery.

That time he received no vow, no robes, he was only appointed a novice. After the ceremony, he went back to his family.

At that time, our monastery had no school, all our children, until 2004, went through the same challenging experience.

Lama Yonten Sangpo went to the monastery and was immediately sent to reach the school when he was nine years old. Lama Karma when he was ten years old.

With a few elder monks, the children left the village on foot.

At that time there was no road from Mustang to Pokhara. People were moving on horses or donkeys.

Our small friends went on foot. The monastery was poor so couldn't pay for the mounts.

The kids had never been so far from their village before. Never.

Everything was going to be new and alien to them. India was so far away that they had no idea how far it was. Or how it was going to be there.

They just left.

With big bags on their backs, and a little pocket money to pay all their expenses on the trip.

The journey was hard.

They were walking all day. Sometimes long after the sunset, because they had to reach a friendly house where to spend the night.

It was summer, the rainy season. Sometimes, in the dark, the kids couldn’t see the mud and walked right into it. So their shoes got stuck in the mud. And they had to push hard to get them back.

And they were so tired... When they stopped to eat, they sometimes fell asleep while eating.

Lama Karma remembers that when they had a stop to rest, he was so tired that he didn’t bother to take the big bag from his back. He simply let himself fall on the ground, bag and all. At the end of the journey, his bag had a hole in it. So hard and so many times he fell to the ground with it still on his back.