Leki Zam

“I came here for the Royal Highland Festival from Lungo which is 2 hours walk from Laya. It isn’t as big as Laya with only one BHU which often remains closed. My parents being farmers, I dropped out of school to help them collect cordyceps. My father does cordyceps business besides taking essentials from here to Lunana which takes around 3 days.

In school, I wanted to be a teacher but it isn’t possible anymore. I regret not being able to study but if I get to study, I’d still do it. I studied till class 5. I was 11 years old at the time.

I love dancing, acting and making TikTok videos. My favourites are actress Deki Lhamo and actor Lhakpa Dhendup. I met Sonam Wangdi, my favourite singer, but couldn’t get a picture of him. With the film industry expanding, I hope it’ll soon reach the highlands as it’s my dream to be part of it.

We were taught dance by the Tsipoem, where we’d practice for days. Education is essential without which, one can hardly achieve anything. If it is up to me, I wouldn’t let my younger siblings drop out of school like me. Education gives you a good life. People used to make their livelihood through cordyceps but now with the reduction in numbers, depending entirely on it is risky. Seeing many students dropping out is concerning and I always advise my friends against doing that.

Getting to dance at the Royal Highland Festival is a moment I’ll always cherish. I don’t want to stop here, I want to perform at every opportunity I get. The happiest I’ve been was when I was a performer and I got to see our King.”

#HumansofThimphu #RoyalHighlandFestival #Humans #Gasa #Thimphu

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