for it is in the minds of men and women that the defences of peace and the conditions for sustainable development must be built. ~UNESCO

Friday, September 30, 2011

Our Gift For The Royal Couple

Photo courtesy: Kuensel

 Every Bhutanese, old and young, are all excited for the greatest event of 2011-The Royal Wedding. The date is nearing and I would be living the occasion. Pondering over this question- What will I do? was an experience. I am no artist, I can't paint pictures and I am no writer, I cannot compose. I have but thought of this gift. I developed a group on Facebook called TOB-DEN and also a blog titled the same. The same are gifts from the teachers of Bhutan. Our greatest wish is to see the Royal Couple land on any of the two (Group and Blog), one day. I wish  happiness and well being to the Royal Couple. Happy Wedding.

I have the details on the Facebook group and the blog underlined hereafter...

The group is dedicated to the children of Bhutan and is formed in commemoration of the Royal Wedding

What is in the name TOB-DEN?
T = Teachers
O= Of
B= Bhutan
D= Dedicated or Diligence
E= Enthusiastic or Excellence
N= Noble or Nurturer

The word 'Tobden' holds a very positive meaning in our own language- Dzongkha

AIM: - To connect, share, learn and apply for a better Bhutan

The Logo 
The butter lamps stand for the teachers of Bhutan and the lamps burning shows the light of knowledge and self-discovery. The light will show ones path and lead one to success.

 The Group:
 The group will try to bring together the teachers of the nation. The nurturers will work closely to shape the future of the Bhutanese youth. Teachers will interact with each other on their daily experiences and challenges. The group will act as a platform for teachers to discuss their teaching learning experiences and other relevant themes. Knowledge and expertise will be shared at a great extent.
We welcome healthy discussion in the group, which will benefit individual teachers and ultimately, the children of Bhutan.
The group is not restricted to teachers only, any one, especially students, can join the group.

The group will maintain a blog titled TOBDEN and the same will go online on 13th October, coinciding with the Royal Wedding. It is a token of love, admiration, and well wishes to the Royal Couple. Policy makers, educators, parents, and students will use the blog as a platform to discuss various issues, share helpful ideas, and learn at length. The administrator of the Facebook group will maintain the blog. Initially, interested and concerned persons may attach their posts and mail it to The bog add is:

We request comments and suggestions from group members, visitors and anyone who has a heart to help the children of Bhutan. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Samtengang MSS Gets Her First Ministerial Visit

Staff from the two school welcome honorable minister
Students wait in anticipation
 A Brief Report...

28th September 2011 is a memorable day for Samtengang Middle Secondary School and Samtengang Primary School, in Wangdue. The day is remarkable by Honorable education minister’s visit. The visit is the first of its kind in the history of the schools. A team led by the minister and consisting of Dzongkhag education officers and other officials visited the school.
The team spent almost 4 hours with students and staff. It was a rich presentation from honorable minister. Lyonpo mainly focused on the program, Educating for GNH, and in particular, Green Schools for Greener Bhutan. Students and teachers were enriched with detailed presentation on the theme. The Green Schools for Greener Bhutan is a great initiative of the education ministry. The program is very easy to understand and its influence would help shape the future of the Bhutanese education system. The program is not merely planting trees or flowers on the campus; it covers all the dimensions of an individual- Spiritual, Mental, Natural, Physical etc. The topics under the program talk of Natural greenery, Intellectual greenery, Cultural greenery, Aesthetic greenery, Academic greenery, Social greenery etc. Honorable minister also talked in detail on the aspects and importance of the program and other relevant areas. His excellency also enhanced students with their purpose and role - usefulness and gracefulness. 
Inauguration  cermony  of  the  school  blog  by   Honorable  minister  
The visit also created a landmark in the history of the school with the inauguration of the school blog by Honorable minister. Lyonpo amplified the occasion with commendations and well wishes. The school now runs an official blog, maybe the first school to do so. I was filled with pride and satisfaction as I was the mastermind behind this but I  congratulate all my fellow colleagues for making the blog a successful one, it was a collective effort. 
His excellency reads out the 'Royal Wedding' message from the blog.

 After the session with students, Lyonpo held a meeting with the teachers. During the meeting, he briefed us on the aforementioned program and shared some secrets of the teaching world. We learnt the reason behind the ‘Noble profession.’ Teaching is a noble profession because teachers build nobility- nobility of action, nobility of heart and we work towards making a place a better one and transform an individual into a better one. In brief, teachers work for a better cause, always. This explanation is a boost to my bogged life as a teacher; it motivated me or at least lifted my heart.  
The other presentation that lighted us was the explanation of the Noble triangle. The noble triangle is very simple and a must for teachers to understand.  The three sides of the triangle stand for: 1. Love for children 2. Love for learning 3. Importance of education. The Noble triangle is the soul of a teacher and we must be inside the triangle to be a good teacher.  Then, His excellency touched upon various dimensions of a teacher. I believed in his words as his words come from a rich experience in the field.

The meeting concluded without any questions from the floor. Lyonpo and his team sponsored the lunch for the day. We wished farewell to the entourage at 3PM.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Trip to my village

I was welcomed by this beautiful butterfly.
The 18.9 earthquake has damaged many structures in Bhutan ranging from dzongs to family homes. My home at Wachey, Wangduephodrang, was not inspected for damages as there's nobody home.
Being the closest one to home, I made a trip to investigate the family house. The trip was a good break from my everyday teaching life. It has rained the whole night and the air was fresh. The village air was welcoming and the flowers looked great.I could see the paddy fields turning gold.

Getting ready to be harvested

Reaching home, I looked at all sides from outside and there was no cracks visible. The only aftermath was the tilt on the wall which supports the verandah aka euekhe. Then I went from room to room and found no major damage though there were some small hairline cracks on the third floor. And a portrait has fallen down along with a small carton box. I was relieved and satisfied too.  There was no major damage and the family home is safe.
Turning gold
The first crack I noticed

then the second one

The third and the longest one, it runs from the ceiling to the floor.
Another one above the shrine room door

The tilted stone wall

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Happy Blessed ‘Bathing’ Day

Bhutan is special and unique. There are many practices, which supports this thesis. The beautiful dress, language, festivals, traditions etc are some from the hundreds on the list. The once a year Thrue bab- Blessed Rainy Day is one particular day observed in Bhutan, which also aids the aforementioned view. It is an important day, so the day is a national holiday. 

The day has been observed since the advent of Buddhism or maybe before, which makes the occasion as old as the mountains.  It is believed that one should take a bath and the bath will cleanse all the sins one has accumulated. Thus, the prayers to be chanted before and during the bath say- let me be free of all sins I have committed; may this bath free  my body, speech, and mind from the sins.  

According to Holy Scriptures, the rain on the day comes with the power to cleanse our sins. All natural water bodies in the country are believed to be sanctifying and one should take an outdoor bath.  The auspicious time for bathing falls on a different time of the day every year. Astrologers predict the time and this year, the time falls between 1 PM and 2 PM. I am happy with the time this year, as I do not have to wake up in the wee hours like last year. It is at that auspicious time we should take the blessed bath.  People get ready for the bath by filling containers with water and keeping it outside. They put flowers, camphor, and other scent giving things.  

The day’s significance is not a mere holy bath. There are many other reasons for the day to be a joyous one. The day marks a change in the seasons and we bid farewell to the monsoon. Days become shorter giving way to darkness as early as 6 PM. Farmers are the happiest lot as fruit trees are laden with ripe fruits, and the paddy fields turn gold. Most crops in Bhutan get ready for harvest and autumn rituals fill the air. It signals the time for the vegetation to give their beautiful autumn colour.  

For this sake, we celebrate and only celebrate on this day. Men try their luck at archery or khuru (dart). Women cook and feast their best meals with their family, and Friends gather to wine and dine. Children make merry with their friends. Songs and music will waft in the air. It is also a good day for wearing a new cloth on that day.  And from 1PM, all will be engaged in their holy bath.

This year, I am not feasting with my family as I have an archery match. I have already arranged the kitchen ready for the family to have grand meals. We will start the day with hot rice porridge followed by suja aka butter tea with snacks. My wife has prepared some biscuits out of flour, sugar, butter fried in oil. Just before writing this post, I was cooking rice for porridge on one stove and frying chicken on the other stove.  

I love Bhutanese occasions and I love the holidays more …

Bhutanese Architecture

The dzongs, temples, lhakangs, chortens, family houses, farm houses maintain a unique feature-Bhutanese. They resemble the true sense of architecture in Bhutan. One will always enjoy the intricate paintings and carvings on a Bhutanese piece. The Bhutanese architecture stands out from the concrete architecture. the beams, rammed walls and roofing are truly elaborate and grand. The dzongs, especially, have fought their way for centuries, fighting the furies of nature. I am no architect to comment on the durability or stability but I feel they look strong and majestic. The towering painted exterior walls are quintessentially  Bhutanese and massive entry doors are great piece of art. Modern concrete buildings look lofty and the infusion of a small Bhutanese in it makes it grandeur. I honestly admire the simplicity and beauty of a piece of Bhutanese architecture.

In this post, I have presented some of the many beautiful poses of the  Bhutanese architecture. Enjoy man-made beauty at its best...

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