Our Home Is Heaven

 

I'd like to share a nostalgic moment of my village life in Bhutan.

I am from Bararay village, in the district of Tsirang. A few hours from the town of Damphu by car, my home sits in a small forest. Dense orange orchards waft pleasant scents of citrus and a small stream flows nearby. 

As a child, I enjoyed the melodious voices of birds chirping every morning and evening. I was a little girl in the early 90's with bare feet, unkempt hair and dirty clothes.

I used to run away from my mother when it was time to bathe. I remember a group of kids my age gathering for picnics, playing on the see-saw, and making toys out of whatever we could find. We used stones and unwanted things, and often I enjoyed simply playing with dust. 

At the age of five, I was asked to leave my apa and ama (mother and father) to go to school in one of the eastern districts with my aunt. It was very difficult for me to forget my village life. Life in that faraway district was very different; I couldn't even understand the language there. They served me their local salt tea, which I had never tried. Slowly I got used to it, and came to understand the beauty in the uniqueness of other regions. Every year I changed schools, moving to another region of Bhutan in each grade. By the time I reached the completion of my high school days, I had studied at thirteen schools. I truly knew the richness and variety of Bhutan's culture, traditions, customs, and languages. 

After finishing grade twelve I returned to my village for three years, where I could enjoy life to the fullest. Although people there were uneducated, they were very decent in nature and had a sense of respect for both elders and young people. I could still see their belief in humanity and preservation of rich old customs and traditions. Neighbors all helped one another. People's satisfaction with what they were and what they had reflected Bhutan's emphasis on Gross National Happiness. But sadly, the time came for me to depart from my beloved parents and my beautiful village life and be away from Bhutan.

As the saying goes, "Our home is heaven, even if it is located under the bridge."

I love my country. I love my village, my family, and my relatives.

And I hope and pray that peace and prosperity will prevail in Bhutan. 

STORY AND PHOTO BY MUSKAN SHARMA

 
StorySarah Cahlan