“I’ve been selling oranges since I was 15. I turn 73 this year. Having lived a long life, I’ve learned that we should make a lot of friends, be good to everyone and apologise when we are wrong. My parents were both farmers and died a long time ago. My home is in Dagana but I stay with my youngest daughter whenever I come to sell oranges. I’ve been coming to Thimphu for over 30 years now and I like it here. It’s always bustling, we meet a lot of people and revisit familiar faces. My 3 daughters run shops and my son has a job. Apart from selling oranges, I sell cardamom and scrap. My kids tell me to stay at home and rest now that I’ve aged but my heart won’t listen. I am just not ready to stay idle yet. My children never learnt to do this work, they had other interests. But I will do this as long as I am physically able. My next trip is to Gelephu to sell cardamoms. I’ve already made all the necessary arrangements.

There are many people like us who’ve spent their entire lives selling produce. Unfortunately, in recent times we face a lot of trouble trying to find a place to sell them. We were chased away by the thromde officials no matter where we tried to sell our oranges. They said we weren’t allowed outside the Centenary Farmers Market. When we moved to Changzamtog, they sent us away again. And yet again when we moved to Changedaphu (Kala-bazar). After many requests, the gup here allowed us to set up our shop. But this too is a short-term deal. After 2 weeks, we have to move again. We pride ourselves on being an agriculture and business-friendly country but even an old person like me has had to suffer so much just to sell some oranges. I think we need to create an environment that allows people to be able to sell our produce within the country. I hope that in the future, we will be given a clear directive on where we could sell or whether we are allowed to sell. That would make things easier for both parties. I am only looking to do what makes me happy, this has been my entire life after all.”

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