“I am a specialist in organic agriculture. I worked in agriculture research, national organic programme management before and now I manage the national organic flagship Programme. I am also a desuup. I did my training in 2014 with the 13th batch. I also encouraged five of my friends to join with me because that was the first opportunity given to seniors and it was an accelerated two week programme for executives. That felt just right as the time required was not too long.

This lockdown was more difficult for people as the situation is much more risky. Getting things organized and getting services was also more difficult due to the health risks. In the first lockdown it was an effort to get the people of the zone to come together in a social media chat group as the utility of having such a group was not appreciated. Luckily I managed to get myself added to the local WeChat group besides the FB group and we slowly grew and kept it alive. This WeChat group became very useful this time around as many people in our zone, which has two traditional villages, can’t read and write. This time people are participating very actively. They share information, help each other out and have developed a good community bonding. For things to run even more smoothly, I feel that the Thromde could get help from the moderators and Desuups to collect information of each zone. This information could be regarding shops which are most convenient for people to go to and the critical essentials that need to be stocked. An exercise needs to be done in each zone to work out the grid of the services, distances and shops so that all basics are organized at all times. Food, vegetables, medicines, gas cylinders, meat, should be available within walking distance.

I feel that people try their best during such times and the heart to help each other does show. The best way to help us all is to remember each of our own responsibilities, our Gyenkhu – follow lockdown protocol, follow the required norms and stay at home unless necessary. Also some of us might be lucky enough to be comfortable, but in a growing urban society we may forget to look out for the welfare of your family and neighbors. If you hear or sense that someone may be in need, be willing to share, be it information, food or reaching out with whatever you can. It could be just a phone call that may save someone. Some may not have enough money to buy food even if shops are open, some may not be able to cook food because they ran out of gas. Keep distance, stay safe but do look out for one another.

We Bhutanese are strong and that is why sometimes we are also careless and slip into an attitude that we are invincible, that we will survive and deal with it. But we need to wake up and accept that we are all humans and equally prone to infection. We need to remember to be more careful. It takes time to change our habits and lifestyles but it’s time we take this disease seriously and try a little harder, if not for ourselves then for our families, our country and our King. His Majesty is risking so much for all of us, the least we can do is take care of ourselves.”

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