Robert Bateman limited release print. Support BCF! Buy yours today!


This beautiful print is one in a set of illustrations from the book, The Birds of Heaven, and has never before been offered for sale. The Cranes pictured are held sacred in Bhutan, where they are often seen as harbingers of heaven and omens of longevity and good fortune.
Your print is one of a limited 150 print release and all prints are signed by the artist. Prints are 10.5″ by 15.75″  with borders of 2″ top/sides and 2.5″ bottom. All prints are unframed.
100% of funds raised through the sale of the print will go to support BCF programming in 2011.  Prints are $195 + shipping and handling.

Makes a great Christmas present!

For more information or to pre-order your print please email kristen@bhutancanada.org

BCF friend Karma Wangchuk running for mayor of Thimphu!

Karma Wangchuk

“The father of two said the capital city, where there are about 100,000 people, is difficult to manage. ‘But if you don’t do something and let it happen, it isn’t good for the future of the city,’ he said. Born and raised in the capital city, the former lead urban designer for the Bhutan urban development project feels Thimphu city is grappling with many problems that need quick solutions. ‘Why is there no 24-hour water service? Why isn’t there a footpath for the children to walk to school and paths for elderly people in the city to walk?'”

Read the Kuensel article by Ugyen Penjore HERE

A Great Place to Be

Former WUSC teacher and current BCF supporter Peter Bowen shares his stories of life in the field 25 years ago: 
The “great place” of the title was Sherubtse College in 1985, where I was posted to teach. 
At that time, 3 other Canadians were also there: one, Fr. Gerald Leclaire, was the Principal; another, Fr. John Legge, taught Physics; and the third, Jack McManus, taught English. (All were part of the Jesuit contingent in that part of South Asia.) My subject was S.M.G., or Structures of Modern Government. 
Loading up the bus, Tashigang

The Jesuits had their own mess, up on the hill close to the “upper bazaar”. I ate in the staff mess, which was also populated with the other non-married teachers at Sherubtse. They were all, initially anyway, lecturers from the University of Delhi. The married ones had their own private quarters. Students dined in their own mess, which also served as the venue for the Saturday-evening disco. I was asked to chaperone this event, which gave me an opportunity to get to know my students outside of the classroom setting.

In fact, there were several ways in which I interacted with students outside of the confines of the classroom. Besides the weekly disco, I spoke with them at the basketball games held in the front of the College, the pre-dawn badminton matches, football games on the field by the staff mess, and the sundry functions at the Temple located on the upper reaches of the campus (e.g., the the vigil at the funeral pyre of one of my students.)
Peter and his students at Sherubtse College.

 But the grounds of the College were not only used for sporting and religious functions. Each week there was a period of S.U.P.W., Socially Useful Productive Work. For this, the students were required to maintain the College gardens, which provided fresh vegetables for the students’ mess. Some of the Canadians, myself included, supervised these activities. At other times, Fr. Leclaire would supervise P.W.D. (Public Works Department) activities, which were minor repairs to the roads and landscape of the College.

Sherubtse College

  

Other buildings included the administrative offices, classrooms, the College library (teachers were allowed to peruse the stacks, students were not), and a small dispensary for minor ailments. (More serious health problems were treated at the Dantak hospital close-by, “Dantak” being the Indian force used to build the roads in eastern Bhutan). The administrative section housed the one phone in the place, which could be used for calls from Tashigang to Samdrup Jhonkar, but no further. Computers were nowhere to be seen.
There were 4 hostels (or dorms) for students — 3 for boys and only 1 for girls (which gives one an idea of the ratio between the 2 sexes at that time). Each hostel had a live-in warden, or “den mother”. I was Warden of the Lower Hostel, and lived in a 3 room set-up on the ground floor (a bathroom with a fancy hole in the floor for a toilet, a living room, and a bedroom). It was my responsibility to keep an eye on the students, and ensure that quiet times were observed in the evening for those who wished to study. This was not a problem in my hostel, as I had mostly science students who tended to be serious about their studies. 
Some were so serious, in fact, that they stayed in the hostel over the winter months to study for exams the following spring. Life was cold, desolate, and lonely, during those few months. But they reasoned that if they returned to their villages (they were inevitably the poorer kids), they would not be able to study as much as they wished to do.

The hostels were cold even when classes were still on. Being built only of concrete, with no heating at all, they held the cold for long periods of time. Hence it was common for me to go outside to get warm.

Peter and some of his students.

The students, especially the ones in my hostel, were a real joy for me. Yes, the great beauty of the place was certainly enchanting. (I would wake up each morning to look out on the snow-capped peaks of the Bhutan-Tibetan border.) And yes, I loved teaching a subject that I had spent 5+ years in university studying. (I was, and still am, quite enthusiastic about any subject that I find of interest.) But it was “my” students (aged from the late-teens to the mid-twenties), and the relationships that I developed with them, that made my time at Sherubtse so wonderful. Some are frequently in my thoughts to this day.

  
Like the title says, it was a great place to be. 
Peter Bowen 
WUSC Teacher, Bhutan, 1985

Learn about BCF teacher Ann Berman’s life in the field

Read Ann’s blog Ann’s Adventures to get an idea about what life is like for BCF teachers in Bhutan. Originally from Ontario Ann has spent the past year developing a Special Education program in Mongar in Eastern Bhutan. She has conducted workshops for parents of special needs children and has even done traveling workshops in remote communities. 

Ann’s class in Mongar
A very interesting aspect of conducting parent workshops here, is that one must plan two versions, one for the “English literate” group, which makes up about one third of the parents, and another for the non-English speaking illiterate group. All of the parents sign-in upon arrival, and the latter group signs in with their thumbprints. It was amazing to hear Yeshey’s observations about this group. After the spring workshop, she walked home with a few of the women who live in her village, and they were flushed with excitement. They said it was the first time they had ever held a pencil!! A couple of the women were inspired to learn more, and said they would get their children to teach them to read and write.”


Learn about Ann’s life in the field

Read Ann’s blog Ann’s Adventures to get an idea about what life is like Eastern Bhutan. Originally from Ontario Ann has spent the past year developing a Special Education program in Mongar in Eastern Bhutan. She has conducted workshops for parents of special needs children and has even done traveling workshops in remote communities.


“A very interesting aspect of conducting parent workshops here, is that one must plan two versions, one for the “English literate” group, which makes up about one third of the parents, and another for the non-English speaking illiterate group. All of the parents sign-in upon arrival, and the latter group signs in with their thumbprints. It was amazing to hear Yeshey’s observations about this group. After the spring workshop, she walked home with a few of the women who live in her village, and they were flushed with excitement. They said it was the first time they had ever held a pencil!! A couple of the women were inspired to learn more, and said they would get their children to teach them to read and write.”

Prepare your tastebuds!

As a BCF teacher you are likely to experience new and different adventures in eating. For most teachers, rice and dishes like ema datse, daal, curried vegetables, and all things spicy will become a mainstay in your diet. With only a few months to go before the BCF Class of 2011 heads to the Himalayas, why not take a stab at cooking a few Bhutanese dishes in preparation!

Bhutan’s national dish, ema datshi, is essentialy a chilli cheese curry. It’s quick, easy to make and, you guessed it, spicy!

Ingredients:
•200g of chillies (green and of medium hotness)
•1 onion chopped longitudinally
•2 tomatoes
•250g Danish Feta cheese
•5 cloves of garlic, finely crushed
•3 leaves of coriander
•2 teaspoon vegetable oil

Directions:
Cut chillies longitudinally (1 chilli = 4 pcs). Put these chillies and chopped onions in a pot of water (approx. 400 ml). Add 2 teaspoon vegetable oil. Then boil in medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add tomato and garlic and boil for another 2 mins. Add cheese and let it remain for 2-3 mins. Finally add coriander and turn off the heat. Stir. Keep it closed for 2 mins. Serves 3. As always, serve with a generous portion of red rice or polished white rice, along with some other dish.

Note: The cheese that is actually used cannot be found outside Bhutan. It is a local farmer’s cheese with a unique texture that doesn’t dissolve when put in boiling water. None of the Bhutanese outside Bhutan have found a good substitute yet. Others have suggested “farmer’s cheese” or a mixture of various kinds of cheeses.

Photo credit: The Food Magellan