Day 10 (2-6) - Wednesday, November 06, 2019 - A Day in the Life of Taphu; Visit School; Explore a Bhutanese Village; Community-Hosted Lunch; Khewang Lhakhang
The “wake up whistle” came early. There are no phones in our camp, so a young man came around and blew a whistle at 6:30. We were already up and about and getting ready for our day.
We sat with Wangdi at breakfast and talked about how much we were enjoying this trip and thanked him for being so attentive to everyone’s needs. He is very efficient and takes care of any concerns on the spot!
At 8:30 we gathered at the bus for a half hour ride to Taphu, a small village in the valley.
Today was the OAT unique program, “A Day in the Life,” where we spent the whole day with the villagers getting a close up view of their culture, religion, and education.
After a very bumpy 20-minute drive, we met the principal of the Rameychen Primary School, Yeshi Jamtsho. He welcomed us to the school and assigned a classroom for us to visit.
Our visit was to a 6th grade class with 24 students; balanced with boys and girls. We introduced ourselves and we had brought a map so we could show the children where we lived. Marleen and John from Virginia, Linh from California, and us from Colorado.
The children were very interested in knowing if we liked Bhutan and how long it took us to get here. The girls were especially shy, so we sat at their tables and talked to them in a small group.
Gennie brought her IPad and showed them the slide show of our home in Colorado. We also showed them two videos of Deckard, our grand cat who lives in Austin, TX with our son, Eduardo.
After our classroom visit we played a rousing game of musical chairs. Then we visited the computer center and the library funded by the parent organization of OAT, the Grand Circle Foundation.
We said goodbye to the children and had a unique opportunity to ride on a diesel powered farm tiller to the village. The path was steep, narrow, and rocky, so common in Bhutan. Wangdi reminded us that the only flat road in the kingdom was on the airport runways.
The village leader greeted us and took us on a short walk. We visited a family building a new home. The construction was done with basic tools. Because the gentleman’s family was homeless and they did not have a permanent home, the government gave him a grant to build his house.
We also got to visit a young woman who was distilling wheat alcohol and making moonshine. Several of the neighbors came to see the “Americans” that were visiting their village.
After our walk, we went directly to a village home. Our hosts Karma and Detchen served our meal family style. We sat on the floor or on little stools and ate in the kitchen or main family room. The grandparents and a local elder also ate with us.
The meal consisted of rice and several types of vegetables. The meal was simple but tasty. We were given a spoon but the family ate with their fingers. With Wangdi translating, we learned about the former days of raising their children and the medical care changes through their lifetimes.
After giving the family a few gifts that we brought from home, we thanked them and got back on the bus. We followed the bumpy road to Khewang Lhakhang, a Buddhist temple and monastery.
Donning our socks, we went into the temple. The head teacher, explained about the 22 young boy monks that lived in this small community.
We were able to take a few photos of the children as they preformed their prayers and played the traditional monastery instruments. The teacher explained that the prayers were to wish us good fortune and health. He then consecrated prayer flags and gave a set to each of us.
The children asked us a few questions and we were able to learn more about their lives. The teacher gave us a summary of their day that begins at 5:30 and keeps them busy until lights out at 9:00 at night.
We returned to our camp at 3:30 and started to work on our journal, recapping our delightful day. At 5:00 Vic went to the Dining Hall to learn how to make the chili cheese dish so popular in Bhutan.
Before dinner the camp staff entertained us with local singing and dancing. Dinner was served at 6:30 and was another variety of the local cuisine.
Meals included: B, L, & D
Accommodations: O.A.T. Tented Camp
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How wonderful that you are getting to really see the life there and visit with the people. I would have loved to visit the school.
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What a fascinating day. Thanks for sharing the adventure.
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