Teacher Blog of the Week – Snippets of Bhutan

BCF teacher, Martin joined alongside his wife Tara, in Bumthang have kept very busy, with a full teaching schedule, several extra curriculars, volunteering, arranging visits with other teachers and becoming immersed fully in their community.

Martin surrounded by his teammates.
Tara with the ever present bovine.

Read about No Car Days, purchasing their veggies, the abundance of cattle, and the many games of sport in their blog post Snippets of Bhutan, they give us a glimpse into what their lives are like on a daily basis.

Photo of the Week – Teacher Accommodation

Accommodation varies widely in Bhutan and our teachers learn quite quickly that it is much different than what they might be used to back home. However, with the help of friends they meet, and the support of one another, they make their new homes warm, welcoming, and comfortable!

Sarah’s home
Sabrina’s Sitting Room
Dave’s Living Room
Martin and Tara’s Kitchen

Teacher Blog of the Week – Choe Ton Say… Nee Sim Baa Maa Chaa

As mentioned in earlier blog posts, like The Mission for Instruments, BCF teacher Dave at Pakshikha MSS, is quite the accomplished musician and has found in his community and his students, a combined love for all things music, singing, and dancing.

Singing a Bhutanese song for Dave’s Birthday. Photo Credit: Dave Green

Dave has put his Dzongkha skills to the test as he sings and plays guitar to a popular Bhutanese song. Check out his video rendition on his blog: Choe Ton Say… Nee Sim Baa Maa Chaa

Happy Blessed Rainy Day

Blessed Rainy Day is a public holiday marking the end of the monsoon season in Bhutan. In 2012, Blessed Rainy Day falls on September 22nd. According to Bhutanese beliefs, all the waters in the country are considered holy on this day. Therefore, the citizens are encouraged to take an outdoor bath in order for past misdeeds and bad karma to be cleansed.

Families traditionally gather for a meal of thup (porridge) at breakfast time and some people also celebrate the holiday by playing either khuru or archery. This holiday marks the end of the farming season and the start of the harvesting season as well.

Photo Credit: Ann Berman

To learn more about this auspicious day, check out BCF teacher alumni, Ann’s blog post Blessed Rainy Day from when she taught in Mongar in eastern Bhutan in 2010.

Upcoming Event: Welcoming Karma & Kinley

BCF’s new students scholars Karma & Kinley arrived in Toronto at the beginning of September to start school at Blyth Academy Burlington. Help us welcome them to Canada by attending a very special welcome dinner in their honor, October 12th.Date: October 12th, 2012 7:00pm
Location: Om Restaurant, 1439 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M6R 1A1
Details:  Join us for dinner or just stop by to say hello! If you are joining for dinner you will be responsible for the cost of your meal (entrees are approx. $9 – 15). Click here to see the menu.
RSVP: to kristen@bhutancanada.org by Oct. 5th

Hope to see you there!

Photo Essay: Colours of Bhutan

So many beautiful photos abound of Bhutan. This week is a mesmerizing collection from Pratap.

Chorten and Sky. This image was shot in Dochula Pass, which is 30 km from Thimphu. 108 short structures. Photo Credit: Pratap
Sparrow. Common sparrows are still plenty while Thunder Dragons are long gone. Photo Credit: Pratap

To see the whole collection, visit: Photo Essay: Colours of Bhutan

Teacher Blog of the Week – Murphy’s Law

BCF teacher, Sarah is teaching at Bjishong MSS, located in Gasa district, the largest and least populated Dzongkhag in the far north of the country, in a remote posting. The village near her school, Damji has had a hard year, with the onset of the monsoon season. Here’s Sarah’s account on how she, along with her community,  have dealt with torrential downpours and landslides.

“…There is no longer a road to my placement and there is no longer electricity. It has been about 2 months since the loss of both, and things don’t look like they are going to be fixed very soon.

…But the weirdest thing happened- I stopped caring about it. …I developed a really nice routine, and began drawing again. I read voraciously, and go on long walks and just listen to the scenery…

Sarah’s view.

…This is the situation, and the fact that I have learned how to survive, and possibly even thrive in this, is a great personal feat. I am in the city for the weekend, and will have my fill of western foods, TV, internet, and then I will return to my peace- my soundtrack of birds and wind and rain, and students singing their prayers for the meals. I will return to the ultimate comfort of being curled up reading a good book by candle light. This is a very special situation and time in my life, and I will never forget it. And now, I embrace it.

Check out Sarah’s full account, the good and bad, at Murphy’s Law

Travel to Bhutan in 2013 – Annual Chairman’s Trip

Are you interested in travelling to Bhutan? Would you like to get involved with The Bhutan Canada Foundation? If so, consider joining our Annual Chairman’s Trip, led by BCF Founder and Chair, Sam Blyth, for an insider’s view of Bhutan including visits to BCF teachers in the field, receptions, private dinners and special access to sites across the country.

Dates in country: April 1 – 10, 2012

Cost: $4,920 + Airfare

Highlights: Paro, Tiger’s Nest, Thimphu, Punakha Valley, Bumthang, Dochula Pass, school visits, private receptions, special access to historical sites.

For more information, please see Chairman’s Trip, email kristen@bhutancanada.org or call (416) 572 – 3767.


Photo of the Week – Marigolds and Sunflowers

Marigolds and Sunflowers at Zongdopelri. Photo Credit: Tim Grossman.

“At the temple the marigolds are exploding and the giant sunflowers are wilting, bowing to the earth. They look exactly like the old man stooped over the prayer wheel…

…Above the temple my bonpo meadow is alive with purple princess blooms and swerving clouds. There are no clouds on earth like these and I wonder of all the enchanted parcels how did I end up here? Suddenly coincidences and randomness seem impossible.”

For the rest of Tim’s blog post: Himalayan Odyssey

We’d love to see your photos of Bhutan! 
Send your best snaps and photo credit information to info@bhutancanada.org

Teacher Blog of the Week – I get to be kind to them…

As the BCF teachers are incredibly busy and don’t always have access to the quickest internet connection, it’s great when we get to read new blog posts like Reidi’s, who’s based at Autsho MSS in Lhuntse. 

“…I truly can’t think of many people I’d rather be around than my students. I say this a bit sheepishly, because I know it sounds like I’m bragging, especially to my teacher friends in America… And maybe I am bragging a bit; while I certainly can’t take credit for the quality of my students’ characters, they indeed have made me into the proudest teacher this side of the Pacific and burst my heart right open.  It’s hard not to want to boast, just a little.

Photo Credit: Reidi Smith.

…I’ve come to the right place. I get to laugh, joke, play, and share with my students to a degree that would never fly anywhere else… …As my time here dwindles, I realize that it is these moments that will stand out as purely beautiful, simple, and precious. These are some of the most hard-working, unfailingly jovial people in the world. I’m so lucky to be here and get to be part of it. My students are the ones who have brought me to this acuity, and I’d like to honor them for that.”

To read the rest of Reidi’s blog post: I get to be kind to them…