Orientation: Shopping for Kira/Gho

One of the most distinctive features of the Bhutanese is their traditional dress, unique garments that have evolved over thousands of years. Each year during orientation our teachers get the opportunity to shop for and order their gho or kira.  Many teachers have found that wearing national dress is the easiest option, as it helps them to fit in and feel part of the community. It is also a comfortable and practical piece of clothing to wear every day!

Photo Credit: Carmelita Realeza
Photo Credit: Carmelita Realeza

Women wear the Kira, a long, ankle-length dress accompanied by a light outer jacket known as a toego with an inner layer known as a wonju. Men wear the Gho, a knee-length robe somewhat resembling a kimono that is tied at the waist by a traditional belt known as kera. The gho is folded a certain way to allow a pocket to form in the front, where a surprisingly large amount of items can be stored.

Check out our previous classes shop for their Bhutanese dress in 2011, 2012, and 2013!

Orientation: BCF 2014 Teachers!

Last week our new BCF teachers and their families arrived in Thimphu for orientation. We are excited to have three alumni returning and 15 brand new teachers who will join our six renewing teachers, bringing us to a total of  24 BCF teachers who will be scattered across Bhutan. Orientation seems to be going well as indicated by the smiles!

2014 Teachers outside of the Folk Heritage Restaurant in Thimphu

Orientation: Traditional Bhutanese Cooking

One of the activities the teachers will be enjoying during orientation is cooking lessons! The national dish in Bhutan is called ema datshi, a very hot dish made with the beloved chilli pepper. Bhutanese don’t heavily season their food, instead they add chilli peppers to many of their dishes. Other ingredients used in Bhutan dishes include yak butter and cheese, various meat and poultry, and red rice. Another popular dish is kewa datsi. Check out BCF alumni teacher Andrea’s recipe for this delicious dish!

Photo Credit: Andrea Chisolm
Photo Credit: Andrea Chisolm, prepping kewa datsi

Some BCF Teachers miss home and certain foods while in Bhutan. Here are some suggestions to fuse North American food with local ingredients (courtesy of BCF teachers Vicky Chartres, Carson Koller, and Meghann Turner):

Looking for something hearty? Soup is right up your alley!:

– look for any local veggies like carrots, potatoes, pumpkin as a base

– add onions, oil or butter, salt, herbs to taste, even amul cheese if it suits

– use hand blender (purchased in Thimphu) to make a creamy soup

Use your rice cooker to make bread & pancakes!:

– maida (local flour used for chipati), milk powder, eggs

– baking powder, sugar

– use milk powder to make milk, follow your recipe, grease rice cooker pan, press rice cooker 2-3 times to cook bread thoroughly

Miss Pizza? Try some delicious Bhutanese-style pizza pops:

– maida, oil, amul cheese, any local veggies, olives (can be found in Thimphu)

– make a dough with maida and water, cut up onions, olives, any veggies, layers of cheese, seal dough around edges and fry

Sounds delicious! Enjoy!

Class of 2014 Arrives in Bhutan!

Our Class of 2014 has safely arrived in Bhutan! They have travelled a short distance from Paro to Thimphu where they have begun a two-week orientation to introduce them to the country and culture, one another, and to prepare them for their classrooms and curriculum. Other activities that they will get to enjoy are a hike up to Tigers Nest, shopping for the national dress, and Dzongkha lessons!

Photo Credit: Vicky and Ian - Arriving in Paro!
Photo Credit: Vicky and Ian – Arriving in Paro!

For the next few weeks stay tuned as we share stories and experiences from our new and returning teachers!