Challenges facing Bongop community and few solutions

Rural areas in Bhutan face many challenges. Bongop community has its own challenges. At the 3rd Tshogpa meeting, we discussed on the challenges Bongop community now faces and tried to find solution among ourselves. At the outset, we would like to thank every Bongop who took part in this important exercise.

We divided ourselves into five groups with five people in each group and discussed on the following main issues.

  1. How to generate Bongop Tshogpa fund?
  2. Where to keep Bongop Tshogpa utensils?
  3. How to solve logging and bad road condition issues in Bongo, Phasuma, Jungley and Zamsa
  4. How to solve the difficulty faced by people of Bongo village in particular to perform Kuchoed at Lhakhang?
  5. How to start income-generating activities in villages?
  6. How to bring Bongops from other villages together, eg. from Ketokha, Damji and other villages of Bongo Gewog?
  7. How Bongop elders can support Bongop youth?
  8. How to bring people together to celebrate village events together? example annual archery and
  9. Any other issues you find important to discuss? Please note down and also provide suggestions

The questions were many and some groups took almost one hour to find answers to all the questions listed here. There were many interesting answers and we have the pleasure to report them as presented by the group presenter from each group.

  1. How to generate Bongop Tshogpa fund?

All groups shared that the Bongop Tshogpa fund collection should be left to a voluntary contribution. A different view was shared by Group 5, saying that we should use MBoB facilities to even accept Tshogpa fund donations as low as Nu. 50 or 100. The Tshogpa further decided that henceforth, we may accept only MBoB online transfers as handling cash creates room for misuse.

2. Where to keep Bongop Tshogpa utensils?

At the end of December, Bongop Tshogpa Utensils have to be shifted to a new place as our present caretaker Aum Yangden is vacating her apartment. Group 1 suggested that we may have to rent a store to keep the utensils. Other than that, the rest of the groups could not suggest anything. At the end, the Tshogpa Chairman decided that Tshogpa Administrators will decide on which place and person will take care of the utensils.

3. How to solve logging and bad road condition issues in Bongo, Phasuma, Jungley and Zamsa villages

This is one issue which we have never shared in the public but today, as not to bias our meeting reports, we share that Bongops face a unique problem of losing our trees to BBPL factory and our roads being damaged by lorry trucks. The basic premise is that our laws have allowed people to sell trees from their private land and we cannot do anything about it. But the damages done by trucks carrying the logs are huge to our farm roads. We discussed on how to solve this issue, but nothing came out of it. All the groups shared that we may have to talk to the village Tshogpa, Chipon or LG leaders.

4. How to solve the difficulty faced by people of Bongo village in particular to perform Kuchoed at Lhakhang?

This is also the first time we are reporting the issue to the public. The people of Bongo village face a lot of difficulty to perform annual rituals at the Bongo Lhakhang. Through our research, we found that there are 11 different rituals performed at Bongo Lhakhang in one year. The Principal amount for one ritual, example Dhaw Dhangpa Nungney which is held for four days is Nu. 143,000. Someone who borrows this amount this year should do the four day ritual next year as an interest incurred on this amount. The interest is not calculated and not fixed but the one who borrowed should perform the ritual and give feast to the public for four days in a row. So a rough estimate form research found that the borrower have to spend about Nu. 90,000 to do the four day Nungney. In simple terms, the interest against Nu. 143,000 is Nu. 90,000. This is proving to be a huge burden for the people of Bongo village. We wanted it to be discussed among the Bongops at the meeting. Honestly, nothing much came out of any group except for the suggestion that Bongops who live in urban areas and who are working should volunteer to be incharge of the community rituals. We are yet to find a concrete solution to this but hope to work closely with people of Bongo to find a solution to this Kuchoed issue facing people of Bongo village.

5. How to start income-generating activities in villages?

There are hardly any income generating farming activities in our villages. We deliberated on this issue as well. Most of the solutions focused on starting alternative crops, finding market for the crops and also working closely with the agriculture staff of our Gewogs. We are yet to find a solution in this area as well.

6. How to bring Bongops from other villages together, eg. from Ketokha, Damji and other villages of Bongo Gewog?

This topic generated some interesting solutions. It ranged from appointing Chiwog coordinators, using social media, conducting get-together programmes and Group 5 even suggested we should change the name of Bongop Tshogpa to something else to show that all villages of Bongo Gewog are included in Bongop Tshogpa. We leave this to time and hope our website can reach out to many people from other villages under Bongo Gewog as well. Bongop Tshogpa is for everyone from Bongo Gewog, although we keep on talking about few villages only. This is entirely because we have no one from other villages who are taking active parts in Bongop Tshogpa activities. We welcome anyone who may want to be part of our activities.

7. How Bongop elders can support Bongop youth?

In this discussion, Group 2 were emotional. The elderly group representative even asked which areas Bongop elders have failed to support the youth. Programmes to know each other were suggested. Winter and summer programmes in villages were also recommended by all groups.

8. How to bring people together to celebrate village events together? example annual archery

On this topic, there were suggestions from three groups that people who dont come to celebrate annual archery in the villages should be made to pay fines. Group 2 suggested that we do proper research on why people skip such important community events. Suggestions were also made by some groups that people living in Thimphu should consider coming to such important village events.

9. Any other issues you find important to discuss? Please note down and also provide suggestions

Finally, this question was the most important among all in the group discussion. Many new issues facing our Bongop communities have surfaced from this discussion.

  1. Group 1 suggested that teenage pregnancy is becoming issue in our villages and that we should do something to solve it.
  2. Group 2 shared that we should reach out to all other Bongops who could not be part of us at the meeting. They also suggested that more Bongops should volunteer to be part of Bongop Tshogpa. Group 2 further suggested that our Bongop youths have to be educated on the negative impacts of alcohol and drugs.
  3. Group 3 came up with a unique issue saying that the trust level in our villages is breaking down. Everyone accuses another of taking profit out of money or material collections. It may be necessary for our Tshogpa to intervene in such collections and act as a neutral person so that people dont accuse each other of taking profit from money or material donations done in the villages.
  4. Group 4 suggested that we may need to look for Bongop volunteers who can go to schools and teach English.
  5. Group 5 recommended that Bongops living and working outside should serve as example to our younger generation with such activities benefiting our common people in the rural areas.

At the end of the group discussion, the Tshogpa Administrator summarised and shared that the suggestions from the group discussion will be considered in drafting the way forward and the list of activities the Tshogpa will carry out from now on.

We would like to thank everyone who shared the passionate and important views and solutions about issues facing our Bongop communities. We hope many will provide more solutions in the future. It also helps us to draft the way forward for Bongop Tshogpa, which is the topic of our next post.

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Third Bongop Tshogpa meeting overview and outcomes

At the Third Bongop Tshogpa meeting, 36 Bongops attended the meeting. This includes 15 from Bongo, 9 from Baikuenza, two each from Phasuma and Zamsa, one from Ketokha and three of our Bongop In-Laws.

We would like to share summary of the events and discussion we had among us and also share brief of the outcomes from the meeting.

The meeting began with recollection of the second Tshogpa meeting held in August 2014. In it, the main highlight was on the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the Tshogpa which was adopted during the meeting. Next we discussed the Tshogpa functionaries who were appointed at the second meeting and the roles assigned against each of them.

Next from the recollection of the second meeting was the fund contributors. The total funds collected until now was shared with the group. We also touched on our Tshogpa utensils.

Then the major chunk of the morning meeting time was spent on updating the Tshogpa activities from 2014 till this day. The activities done till now was broadly categorised into three types.

  1. Community promotion activities
  2. Community development activities
  3. Youth development activities

In the Community promotion activities the following were included and informed to the group:

① Hosting of Bongop Community Website

② Camera Donation to Schools

③ Documentation of Phasuma and Bongo Lhakhang Documents

In the Community development activities, the following were included and discussed at the meeting:

  1. Support to Cleaning Campaigns in different villages
  2. Support to Aum Nakim of Phasuma during fire disaster
  3. Support to Phuntsho Tashi of Jungley
  4. Tarayana Jacket Distribution
  5. Phasuma AMC Cardamom Drier installation
  6. Via University, Denmark Professor’s visit to Bongo
  7. JICA Deputy RR visit and Kitchen Utensil Rack for Jungley to improve sanitation
  8. Bongo Village Toilet Project

In the Youth development activities we informed the group about:

  1. Bongop Youth Meet and
  2. Pakshikha Education Camp

There was tea break and after the break, a quick run through was done to broadcast the names of Bongops and In-Laws who have contributed to the Bongop Tshogpa Fund since its initiation in 2014. Please refer to the contributor’s list to see them. We also shared the names and pictures of those who have contributed to the cleaning campaign and to the support of Aum Nakim of Phasuma whose house was destroyed by fire.

After lunch session was more interesting in the sense that the crux of the concern of every Bongop was shared. The issues and challenges facing Bongops were shared to the meeting. We then divided ourselves into five groups of five persons each to discuss and find solution to the issues we Bongops now face. It was very interesting when the group members presented. We leave it here as it  will be subject of our next post on our website.

In brief, the main outcome from this meeting was:

  1. That our proposal to have three types of Tshogpa fund was not accepted by the group. So Bongop Tshogpa Account remains as one account only. But unlike in the past where we are not allowed to spend from the account, from this meeting, we decided that we can use Tshogpa fund for different activities as per agreement by the Chairman.
  2. Announcement of the acceptance of donations for the Tshogpa fund: That from today, we announce that we are accepting voluntary donations for the Bongop Tshogpa fund.
  3. New appointment and re-appointment of Tshogpa post holders: Dasho Kinley Dorji was unanimously re-appointed as the Tshogpa Chairman.  Lopen Pem Gyelsthen has resigend as the Vice Chairman. So Sonam Jamba from Baikuenza is our Vice Chairman. Tshogpa Treasurer is Choden and Tshogpa Secretary remains same.
  4. We then set the way forward and the activities for our Tshogpa, which will be the subject of the last post in this series.

We hope you have got a general idea about how the discussions have gone through at the one day meeting. We also hope this post helped many of our interested Bongops who have not been able to attend the meeting to get the overall idea. We will also bring more details in the comings posts on the discussions and resolutions.

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Third Bongop Tshogpa Meeting on Sunday 10 September

The much awaited third Bongop Tshogpa meeting will finally take place this Sunday. It will be an important occasion when many Bongops will come together to discuss important issues pertaining our village and Bongop community. The brief meeting agenda we posted before is here. 

Today we extend our formal invitation to all Bongops and Bongop In-Laws. Our In-Laws have always been supportive to the Bongop activities and we welcome you all to the meeting and to continue to support us.

For Bongops living in other parts of Bhutan, if you want to attend the meeting, please feel free to contact us here on Facebook or personally. We can arrange to have you hosted at our Bongop homes and facilitate your meeting attendance.

Overall, it is going to be one big event and ofcourse when Bongops come together, when did we lack the element of fun and huour.

We also gladly announce that Lunch will be cooked at Aum Yangden’s residence in Chubachu. Bongop Tshogpa will be glad to offer a free lunch to all Bongops attending the meeting on the day. We hope to hold the meeting at BCCI hall or any alternative halls nearby.

Hope to see every Bongop on 10 September, Sunday this week. Please call Tshogpa Administrator Lekey Wangdi at 17649979 for any further inquiries.

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Voluntary Cash Contributions by Bongops till now

Bongop Tshogpa was given life and momentum when few Bongops came up voluntarily to contribute cash amounts for the welfare of all Bongops. Then all other Bongops living in Bhutan and outside the country joined in. As of 31st July this year, the amount in our Tshogpa Bank Account is Nu. 49, 704 (Forty Nine Thousand Seven Hundred and Four).

We would like to thank everyone who have made money contributions to Bongop Tshogpa. We list each and everyone of you on our website for our record and for the information of all Bongops and others who may be interested to see how kindness of few individuals and common efforts of many can bring together a community, help each other and above all contribute to promotion of community harmony in Bhutan.

Bongops have made cash contributions at three occasions until now.

  1. Contributions for Bongop Tshogpa Fund
  2. Contributions for Mass Cleaning in Bongop villages
  3. Contributions for Aum Nakim family of Phasuma

Further we would like to inform that some contributions which were received from 2015-2016 could not be updated as we decided that it will be done once we settle the accounts after the Tshogpa meeting on 10 September, 2017.

We would also like to announce that voluntary contributions from Bongps will resume after 10th September. If anyone wants to contribute, you can either leave message on our Facebook account or call Tshogpa Administrators directly.

Thanking you all Bongops for the support till now and find below photos and amount contributed by Bongops.

 

 

In-Kind and Material Donations done so far by few Bongops to Bongop Tshogpa

Many Bongops have donated useful materials to Bongop Tshogpa for common use by all Bongops. Today we would like inform  and thank them officially for their generosity.

Materials donated are one aluminum bowl and three aluminum ladle by Lopen KD Tshering and Aum Tsheri Yangdey.

A 5-litre food hot case, 12 Dhaka plates and two aluminum pots donated by Kesa Om and Sangay Bidha of Jungshina, 50 kid’s plastic chairs donated by Tshering Om, Daughter of Dasho BT Dorji, 15 plastic chairs donated by Karma Tshering of Samdrup Jhongkhar and finally, two woolen floor carpets donated by Wangchuk Lham and Sangay Thinley.

The materials donated by the above generous people are used whenever Bongops needed them. Aum Tsheri Yangdey and Lopen KD have been kind enough to take care of the Tshogpa materials. We thank their family for the support to Bongop Tshogpa till now.

 

 

Left: Wangchuk Lham donated carpets

 

 

Right: Lopen KD & Aum YangdeyKesa Om, Sangay Bidha and Dorji (Daughter of Aum Tshering Choden)

 

Tshering Wangmo (daughter of Dasho B T Dorji) donated 50 Kid’s chairs to Bongop Tshogpa

Bongo Tshogpa will continue to accept material donations in the future as well. Anyone, Bongops or non-Bongops can come forward to donate us. We take a good care of whatever we receive and also we keep on record and also duly acknowledge whatever good deeds and kindness you do for the sake of all Bongops.

We thank the individuals mentioned here for their kindness and generousity. All Bongops remain thankful for showing ways to benefit other Bongops by means of sharing what you possessed.

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Recollecting the first Bongop Tshogpa meeting held in 2014

We would like to recollect today that on 26 July 2014, the first Bongop Tshogpa meeting was held in Chubachu, Thimphu. 22 Bongops came to attend the meeting. It was significant for all of us because such a meeting targeted to work for the benefit of Bongop community in the present and in the future was not held until that day. This time on 10 September at the third Tshogpa meeting, we expect many issues affecting the present and future of Bongops to be discussed and solutions found wherever possible. We need the voices of all of you the Bongops. Please make an effort to register for the meeting with Lekey Wangdi by message on Facebook or by calling his cell phone at 1764-9979.

The minutes of  26 July 2014 Tshogpa meeting is shared here to give every Bongop a feel of how discussions went during the two meetings:

Minutes of the First Bongop Tshogpa meeting held on Saturday 26 July, 2014

Venue: Lopen K.D Tshering and Aum Yangden’s residence

Attendance:

  1. Dasho Kinley Dorji
  2. Dasho Pema Dorji
  3. Thinley Namgay (Spouse of Sister Keza)
  4. Lopen Pema Gyeltshen
  5. Dasho Dawa Gyaltshen (MP)
  6. Lopen Lhagay Tshering (Spouse of Madam Yeshey from Bongo)
  7. Lopen KD Tshering (Spouse of Aum Yangden)
  8. Lekey Wangdi (GNHC)
  9. Kesa Om (Residence: Jungshina)
  10. Phub Om ( Village: Zamsa)
  11. Choden (BNB)
  12. Sangay Bidha (Residence: Jungshina)
  13. Chimi Om (Aou Chimi)
  14. Tendi (DGM)
  15. Sangay Dorji (Bhutan Telecom, S/0 Menpa Nidup Dorji)
  16. Peko (RBP)
  17. Ugyen Pem (Kidu Office, formerly GNHC)
  18. Bidha (from Jungley, residence: Vegetable market)
  19. Aum Yangden
  20. Sister Keza
  21. Tshiteem (HR Tashi Bank)
  22. Sangay Thinley (CBS)

 

The first Bongop Tshogpa (hereafter referred to as ‘Tshogpa’) meeting was held on 26 July, 2014. Twenty two Bongops responded positively to the telephone call made for the meeting in the evening of 25th.

The meeting began by Dasho Kinley Dorji praising the auspiciousness of the day and the occasion of being able to meet with the community members for such an initiative which would further enhance cooperation among Bongops. He further praised Bongops in Thimphu for taking the responsibility of coming together and helping community members at needy times.

Dasho then highlighted on the successful conduct of the ‘Karchoed’ ritual in Bongo earlier this year. He praised Bongops in Thimphu for making generous donations to meet the ritual expenses. In the course of the conversation he expressed his sadness at how some Bongops have travelled as far as Punakha to ask for donations for the ritual. He commented that such pathetic acts may not be necessary when Bongops could do it within ourselves.

Special recognition and words of gratitude was handed to other non-Bongop spouses for their unwavering support to all Bongops till now. Lopen KD Tshering and Aum Yangden was given due recognition for their kindness and generosity to support every Bongops at any circumstance.

The floor was then passed on to Lekey Wangdi to delve into the main agenda of the meeting:2Lekey began by laying out the main reasons and noble intentions for initiating Bongop Tshogpa which can be summarized below:

  1. Tshogpa as the platform where younger Bongops could shoulder the communal responsibilities at the advise and wisdom of the senior and elderly Bongops
  2. As a means to narrow gaps between the elders and younger members of the Bongop community.
  3. As a group to share information of the community and help other Bongops find opportunities for betterment, especially the Bongop youths
  4. Take all Bongops on board in promoting community vitality and help each other
  5. Help connect urban folks to native home place and strengthen the relationship

Lekey reminded the crowd that initiation of the Tshogpa is a small initiative to support the already existing intuitive sense of help that exists among the Bongops. He specified that this Tshogpa is not a substitute for the existing voluntary help mechanisms among the members.

He then progressed to the main points of discussion for the meeting starting with the appointment of the Tshogpa governing members. After discussing more than 20 minutes to appoint the Chairman and other members, Lopen KD Tshering’s passionate comments on Dasho Kinley Dorji being the Chairman and Lopen Pema Gyeltshen as the Vice Chairman was well received and endorsed by all the members.

Tshogpa will now be governed by the following members:

  • Chairman – Dasho Kinley Dorji
  • Vice Chairman – Lopen Pema Gyeltshen
  • Secretary – Lekey Wangdi
  • Curator – Aum Yangden
  • Treasurer – Sangay Thinley

The discussion then moved on to the Tshogpa membership and after prolonged discussion the following agreements were reached.

  1. Membership

With discussion inputs from Lopen Lhagay Tshering, Lopen KD Tshering, Dasho Kinley and others the following decision was reached: that all interested Bongops can become member of the Tshogpa and that one or more person from a family can choose to be a membe

2. Membership fee and voluntary contribution

The discussion was held on whether to keep the membership fees on volunteer contribution or to go for the annual membership fees. It was finally decided that for the sustaining of the Tshogpa and promote sense of belongingness, anyone becoming the member of Bongop Tshogpa will have to contribute a membership fee of Ngultrum One Thousand (Nu. 1000) to the Tshogpa fund on an annual basis.

However, Fund Mobilization strategies will include voluntary contributions on timely basis based on the need of the Tshogpa both from the members and other Bongops

3. Tshogpa utilities

The current status of the Tshogpa utilities has been updated to the members during the meeting. It was also decided that Tshogpa Utilities can be borrowed for use by any Bongop whether he/she is a member or not. The detail terms and conditions for borrowing the utilities will be laid down by the Tshogpa governing members

4. Membership benefits

The Tshogpa governing board with advice from others will chart out the benefits that can be given to the members after the accumulation of the Tshogpa fund. This will be discussed at the next Tshogpa meeting to be held soon.

5. Directives to the governing body

Following directives were passed to the governing body to work out and put up to the next general meeting for discussion and endorsement

  • Draw up Term of Reference for Tshogpa including short-term and long-term plans
  • Draw up detail terms and conditions for borrowing the Utilities
  • Draw up membership benefits upon accumulation of Tshogpa Fund
  • Draw up detail Fund Mobilization and Accountability Strategies
  • Draw up strategies to involve Bongops from other Dzongkhags

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3rd Bongop Tshogpa Meeting will be held on 10 September, 2017

The Third Bongop Tshogpa meeting will be held on Sunday 10 September. It has been three years since all Bongops came together to discuss Tshogpa Terms of Reference (ToR) on 25 August, 2014. The objectives and activities of the Tshogpa were discussed and adopted in the same meeting.

Photos: Bongop Tshogpa meeting in session on 24 August, 2014

We have come a long way in the past three years and in this Tshogpa meeting, we would like to inform about what we have achieved till now and most importantly, how we move ahead from now to the future.

We urge every Bongop to seize this opportunity to be part of a wider Bongop community. The time has come for all of us to think beyond just saying that we are from Bongo, but instead to act and do things in a way which will benefit all Bongops and our Bongop community in the long run.

Please leave message on Bongop Tshogpa Facebook  or contact Lekey Wangdi at 1764-9979 to register for the 3rd Bongop Tshogpa meeting.

Photo: Bongop Tshogpa meeting in session on 27 July 2014

Below is the broad tentative agenda for the 3rd meeting.

  1. First meeting – Recap and Decisions taken
  2. Presentation on achievements till now (chronological order)
  3. Bongop Tshogpa Website
  4. Presentation on the list of contributors to Bongop Tshogpa
  5. Bongop Utensils
  6. Bongo Education initiatives
  7. Challenges facing Bongop community
  8. Discussion in groups challenges and Bongop issues
  9. Financial – Expenditure done till now by the Tshogpa
  10. Way forward & future Tshogpa activities
  11. Appointment of new Tshogpa Administrators
  12. Conclusion & Tashi Delek

***

 

 

Twenty Seven years as Drak Wala of Bongo

Motor road connectivity to Bongo is only four years old. Before the motor road, do you remember how we received post mails to Bongo? It was through the Drak Wala system. Drak Wala is the man who carries letters from Post Office to the rural areas in the past. They were called a ‘Postal Runner’ in English. Our Drak Wala brought letters, parcels, information and most importantly the ‘money orders’. Alumni of Bongop Primary School would surely remember how it felt to see our Drak Wala when he reached Bongo school with letters and all other mails. And ‘money order’ is what we looked forward to. He brought along cash money sent by our relatives living in different parts of Bhutan.

The postal service to Bongo started 44 years ago in 1973, as per our Drak Wala Mr. Ram Bahadur Khati who is now 65 years old and lives in Darla with his wife. The Post Master of the then Post Office located in Darla was Mr. P.B Pradhan. There were two Drak Walas at that time. Our Drak Wala Mr. Ram Bahadur had to go to Sinchula on Tuesday and to Bongo on Thursday of every week. For his services, his monthly salary was Nu. 180. He worked with Bhutan Post in total of 41 years!

To walk to Bongo, it took our Drak Wala over six hours from Darla. Around 1:00 PM he reached Bongo. The route taken by him is from Arekha-Meritsemo-Bongo and then back to Darla. But most of the time, he had to halt nights at Meritsemo. On his walking journey, he also hands mails on the way. Ap Draw in Arekha collected post mails for people of Arekha and Shinchekha. At Meritsemo, he handed mails to Miser Ap of that time Ap Phub Dorji. Late Ap Joogo collected mails for Jungley village. In Bongo Primary School, all mails heading to Zamsa, Phasuma, Ketokha, Damji and Baikuenza were handed over. Can you imagine how difficult and how long it would have taken for the people of Baikuenza to get their letters?

From year 1998, when the road to Bongo was connected through ‘Diphuna’, our Drak Wala walked from Tozhi to Phangseychen to Phokeyna to Bongo. He walked for the next two years only though, as he finally got promoted to the post of a Post Master in year 2000. He studied only class six.

The interview with Drak Wala Ram Bahadur was exhilarating and evoked nostalgia at some points. He could recount the names of all Bongops, well most of them already ‘Late’. He recollects how fun and lovely it was to walk through the villages and how much people trusted in him when he handed over the money orders in honest manner. Our people at that time could not even read numbers. How much they received from the ‘money orders’ sent by their relatives would have dependent entirely on the honesty of our Drak Wala.

Photo: Drak Wala and his Wife on personal stamps made by Bhutan Post. It was done free for him and wife by Bhutan Post few years ago.

More than anything, it is fortunate that we were able to trace him and also talk to him in length about his days of walking to Bongo for the 27 years. No one would have had the energy and perseverance to perform duty in such a manner. We could see that he was built for this job and all his heart and mind spoke out on the day we interviewed him about Bongo. He narrated to us about spending nights in Meritsemo, in Phasuma and even going as far as Zamsa and Baikuenza. We hope we can reunite him and invite him to Bongo once this winter. He narrated how he encountered Bear, Snake and all hostile wildlife on many legs of the journey.

For those of you who have seen our Drak Wala in his Khaki Postal Uniform walking from the Boys hostel to the Head Master’s office in Bongo Primary School, you will only feel the importance of this great man who did a great service to all Bongops, not for one, two, three or five years but all of the 27 years!

 

Written by: Nima Wangdi, Sherubtse Graduate (2017), from Bongo.

Interview and Photos by: Sangay Thinley

Successful tour of Bongo, Jungley and Phasuma villages by Takano-san and group

The delivery of 22 kitchen utensil racks to Jungley village and one to Bongo Lhakhang was successful. The journey and programmes went as planned and it was a full two days of hard work for Takano-san and Jigme Phuntsho who accompanied Takano as a friend.

Bongop Tshogpa is glad that we could show our village and the lives of Bongops to a Japanese and also make him experience it first-hand. He was very accommodating to the hard life at this times of the year. Very few people visit our villages at this time and it was also a good break for the people with his visit.

Ms. Daw Zam, the Chipon of Jungley, provided lunch for four people including our car owner and driver Mr. Karma Chethay. After the Jungley visit, Mr. Takano went around Bongo village and visited few homes. He also donated one utensil rack to Bongo Lhakhang.

In Bongo, one thing was certain that the village did not look exactly like that which we saw from our aerial photos and videos. The passage from house to house was muddy and there were few people falling sick at this time. It may be because of the quality of water and the poor sanitation as well. We urgently felt the need for proper toilets and drainage in Bongo to promote our sanitation.

The evening was a lovely time with the people of Phasuma village. It was time for relaxation with few Tongpa rounds. Lopen Jigme Phuntsho bought Whiskey and Beer to serve to the people of Phasuma. We talked and enjoyed few dance numbers performed by the women of Phasuma. We stayed late into the night and at the end of the dance, Mr. Takano gifted them with some cash Soelra as well. We retired in the comfort of government supplied mosquito nets at Aou Dema’s house in Phasuma.

The next day again, it was a very tight schedule. There was just so many things to learn for Bongop Tshogpa and for Takano-san as well.  We went to visit a cardamom orchard in Phasuma and also see the newly installed AMC Cardamom Drier.

The drier construction was not yet complete but we could get the feel how cardamom will be dried from this September in this modern drying machine. Mr. Karma Chethay was extremely helpful for us. Indeed, he drove his car free for all of us during the journey.

All in all, it was a very fulfilling visit. We have achieved more than we desired on this short visit and we talked a lot through the day as we drove back to Thimphu. One thing was certain that all of us were dead tired once we reached Thimphu.

Bongop Tshogpa would like to thank everyone involved in this small initiative. The people of Jungley, Bongo and Phasuma who welcomed Mr. Takano to the village. The Dasho Dzongdag and Dasho Dzongrab of Chukha Dzongkhag who assured safety and support for Mr. Takano incase if anything went wrong. Lastly the Tshogpa Administrators who have always been supportive and together in everything that we did till now, whether small or big. All Bongops would like to thank Mr. Takano again and we hope to see you again among Bongops after one year when he returns from his further studies in the UK. Thank you again.

***

A generous Japanese will donate 20 Kitchen Utensil Racks for Jungley village and visit Bongo and Phasuma

It is with pleasure we share that Sho Takano-san, a Japanese, will visit Jungley, Bongo and Phasuma villages on 5th and 6th August. He has agreed to donate 20 Kitchen Utensil Racks to the households in Jungley village. Our Tshogpa Administrator, Sangay Thinley, will accompany him on the trip.

When Bongop Tshogpa posted the need for 20 Kitchen Utensil Racks on our website, Sho Takano-san volunteered to sponsor for Jungley village. We are very thankful to him for this generosity.

On Saturday 5th August, Sho Takano-san, accompanied by a good friend of his Mr. Jigme Phuntsho from Bumthang, will start their journey from Thimphu at 6:00 AM to meet the people of Jungley and hand over the kitchen utensil racks. Before the handing over, our plan is to invite Health Assistant (HA) of Bongo BHU to talk on the need for proper sanitation in our homes and to show to the people how a small equipment like a kitchen utensil rack can prove useful in keeping our houses clean and how it can help to promote the health of all household members. In Jungley, Chipon Daw Zam agreed to arrange lunch for four people including our Bongop Tshogpa Administrator.

Picture 1: A sample utensil rack

Takano-san shared how happy he is to be part of our Bongop Tshogpa objective to ‘promoting community harmony’. His interest in our community and our initiative is strong and we are overwhelmed indeed for himself personally agreeing to visit our villages.

We will have Sho Takano-san and Lopen Jigme Phuntsho go to Bongo and spend some time and then spend the evening in Phasuma interacting with the people. We are happy to share a short message from Takano-san himself below:

I am very glad to be part of the movement of “Promoting Community Harmony”. Bhutan is facing astounding rural-urban migration, causing high pressure on urban development and unemployment for youth in the capital city and agricultural labor shortage in rural areas. I noticed there was a fear of losing well-balanced development and prosperity, which were the principles of development policy in Bhutan. I totally believe that small community activities like “Promoting Community Harmony” in each district have big potential to play a vital role for People’s Happiness. For me, it is great pleasure to learn and absorb life in your village and tackle on Livelihood Improvement together. My motto is “Small is Beautiful”.

Bongop Tshogpa hope to continue doing such small initiatives. We hope to see many other people like Sho Takano-san to come our way in the future. We thank him again. Please find below the detail itinerary and also included the ‘travel advisory’ we prepared for Takano-san’s visit. It may be helpful for any Bongop who may like to take guests to Bongo and other villages: