“I became a tourist guide in 1998. We didn’t get a lot of tourists then and during off-seasons we’d do other jobs. Now, it has become a job we can rely on year-round. We also have the internet to solve issues of information and communication. I’ve always loved the outdoors and my job allows me just that. The passion to know more about our country and see it as the tourists saw it were a few reasons I became a guide.

Apart from being a tourist guide, I do other things. I tried my hand at providing a car-rental service in the country once. My wife and I had suffered when we were pregnant and had no car of our own. Seeing the need, I started this service. But it was an idea people were not ready to accept at the time and failed.

In 2019, I’d find cleaning to be my true calling. I’d always felt ashamed when tourists would praise us for being such a clean country and then see litter around the corner. Even as a child I loved cleaning the village Lhakhang without anyone asking me to. So when one day in 2019 when I saw our Queen and the Dorji Lopen picking up waste, I made a promise. That I’d pick up trash every Saturday. And I’ve done it diligently every weekend, except during lockdowns. With encouragement from some of my guests, I even started posting about the campaign and volunteers would show up to help. My guests also help me out sometimes. One couple once spent their entire Saturday cleaning along the Taktsang hike with me. When COVID hit I got more time and started cleaning 3 times a week with my friends. Our cleaning campaigns have budget constraints, especially now that I don’t have a steady income. Sometimes sponsors come along, and sometimes friends help out.

My relatives sometimes tell me that they didn’t raise me to pick garbage. That’s how most people see it. But I try not to let it get to me. 2019 till now, I’ve weighed every piece of trash I collected and so far it amounts up to 31,529 kgs of waste. I try to do what I can. I do feel that if influencers and more important people did this, it would have a bigger impact on our society. I would like to call on them to take charge.”

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