Friday is my favourite day. It’s the day my Class 6 students write their journals. I have learned more about Bhutan from their writing than from any other source.
Today I asked my students to write about their plans for the mid-term break. Here are excerpts from a few journals:
“In mid-term break I am planning to go to my village because village is my favourite place. I will go to meet my friends, neighbours and my family. Then I will help my parents to do work in the field. I am planning to go picnic with my group of friends. When I reach to village I will go to lakhang and pray to god that I get pass on my exams. Then I want to go to my uncle’s house to meet grandmother and grandfather. Then I will help my family to cook food and clean house. I will play with my dogs and I will go with my cow to forest. Then I will cut grass from forest and I will give to cow.”
“During mid-term break I want to go to Lungmethang with my cousin, uncle and aunt and I will weave kira with my aunt. When I come back I will go to Wengkhar with my brother and sister. I will bring back some apples, pears and things to my family.”
“I will go to my village and play with my friends in forest. Sometimes I drink milk and eat cheese of cow. Every day I will go to forest with my friends and cow. When I go to forest I play Tarzan like television.”
“My family is planning to go in mother’s village to meet grandparents. If I go to my mother’s village, my grandmother really loves me and she will give milk to drink and cheese to eat. There are many orange trees and I climb like a monkey and pluck oranges and eat. I will go to forest to collect firewood with my grandmother and when I go with her to collect firewood, she sings and I listen very carefully to learn song and also to look after cow with sister.”
“My plan is to go to visit my parents in Paro, but my brother’s plan is to go to Samdrup Jongkar to visit his friend. As I am looking at you Madam Ann, I will remember my mother’s face, so that is why I want to say to you, will you want to be my second mother? I was saying that because I want one mother from Canada. Will you be Madam, please? If you don’t want me as your child, Yes or No, please don’t be angry with me Madam. So lastly, will you give me your photo please?”
Similar sweet, innocent, gentle hopes were expressed in most of the journals. I wish life here could stay like this, but I fear that change is coming quickly. The vast majority of young people want to do well at school, and get good jobs. They will settle in towns and send money to support their families who are still in villages. They will visit once or twice a year when they have a holiday. Who will manage the farms in the next generation? What will be left of village life?
*I am afraid to deal with photos on this borrowed computer, but when I am back on my own computer, I will catch up.