“My first teaching placement was in a remote village called Getena. It was a 3 day walk from the nearest road in Gedu. My friend and I stayed at a school principal’s house the night before the journey. He asked us, “Ready enna? Can you do it?” We weren’t sure of the answer. The next day, we started walking through the forest. As neither of us had been on this trail before, we were ill-prepared for what lay ahead. The way was full of uphill climbs, leeches and mosquitoes. We were hungry and beaten down. When we finally reached the village, it felt like we’d traveled back in time- years away from civilization. The scarcely populated village was widely scattered. We hardly saw anyone. There was no electricity or phone reception. The solar generator was dysfunctional and only worked during the day. We had to collect firewood for cooking every meal. Our salaries were deposited to the bank and the nearest ATM was at Gedu. For about 3 months, I felt completely depressed and lonely. There were no adults besides the 4 male teachers at the school.

As the year went on, the tight teaching schedule and warden duties helped keep me busy. I missed my own two children back home but my students there became my friends. Some of the children who came from far away stayed with us and became our roommates. We’d share cooking duties and I’d show them Dzongkha movies on my laptop every weekend as a treat. These kids had grown up unaware of TV or other technology. The children told me a story about how one of them sat on the driver’s seat unknowingly on her first trip to Thimphu. These children didn’t know about Teacher’s day or April Fool’s day. It was fun teaching them new things every day. The joy they showed when they learned something new always encouraged us to strive for more. My 3 year term as a teacher at the village was over with many attachments. We had a farewell where the students got teary and sad. After my years at this remote school, I was transferred to Lunana. I’ve been here for 9 years now.”

The second part of this story is continued in the April Issue of our Monthly Newsletter. Subscribe now!

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