There will be a gap in my Bhutan postings, as I am going on holiday in Canada. I am leaving Mongar tomorrow and won't return until early August. I will spend about half that time on the road, in airports, in the air, or recuperating.
My students wrote about the earthquake they experienced last year. Here are three of their reports:
“On the 29th of September, 2009, the Minister of education was visiting our school and the students above class six were called at the multi-purpose hall for meeting. We were in class five, so we were left alone in the class without the teacher which means we were shouting as much as we like. We didn’t listen to captains and the captains were shouting at us.
About 1:10 o’clock, suddenly the earthquake came and the buildings were moving. We shouted. The students came out of the classes crying, but I didn’t cry. I ran out carrying my bags. Choney Zangmo and other friend were also crying. I was afraid that the earthquake would come again. The buildings has crack little bit, but not more.
The earthquake came strong between Mongar and Trashigang. The houses in between had a great damage and people had died. The king visited all the dzongkhags, gewogs, and villages. He gave clothes, tents and money to build new houses.” ~Chimi Yuden
“On September 29, 2009, we had a strongly earthquake. On that day peoples were frightened of it. Many houses were damaged and peoples were staying outside for a week or two. On that day earthquake damaged 15 schools, 1000 houses, 75 lakhangs and chortens, and 3 dzongs in eastern Bhutan.
That time I was in class five, controlling the class members. When it happened it felt like walls were on me and I was so shocked that I can’t ran or shout. And also some of my friend cried, that I felt to cry too.
I felt very scared because it was the first time I felt the earthquake and it was also very strong.” ~Kinley Wangmo
“On September 29th there was an earthquake in Bhutan very suddenly when we were in the class. We hid under our tables and some of the students were even crying. I also felt like crying but I didn’t cry because I try to be a brave girl but inside my heart was beating very fast. Then the earthquake came again and one teacher told us to get out of the class and went to the ground. My heart was still beating as if it was going to burst.
I was very horrified and worried that it was the end of my life. I remembered of mother, father and sister who was at home. Then suddenly the earthquake stopped and I was happy but I though “What if my parents are no more?” This was my repeated question and I thought I would have burst my heart that few minutes.
So lastly, I always pray that this earthquake will never visit this world and whenever there is a little noise, I always jump and ran out of the house thinking that it is earthquake.” ~Karma Lhazin