“I came to Bhutan in 2006 as a labourer, along with a thikadar from my village. After many years as a labourer, I now work as a thikadar. My father is a farmer and he didn’t have enough money to keep sending me and my two brothers to school so we dropped out. I only made it to class 9. We didn’t learn English in school, so I only know Bengali and a little bit of Hindi and Nepali. I used to dream of becoming a successful businessman and earning a lot of money. Now, I know that not all dreams are as near as they seem when we’re kids. However, compared to when I first came here, I’m doing much better. My first pay here was Nu. 220 in a day. In the past 4 years as a thikadar, I’ve started earning much more. Besides, I enjoy working here. The people, malik and working conditions are all very nice here.   

I got married 5 years ago. My wife and I met through a friend of mine who was married to her sister. Initially, both our families refused to let us marry but we were able to convince them. She is a very good-hearted woman. She is back home with my parents- she does housework and takes care of everyone. I’ve tried my best to give her everything she needs, even though I don’t have a lot. We also have a 4-year-old daughter. I always wanted a girl child. I haven’t been home in 2 years. I miss them and my wife tells me to come home but if I do, it won’t be easy coming back here. Work here is also getting harder. We don’t have enough labourers and money is not as steady as before. But I am safe here. 

I don’t have a lot of money saved up but I was able to buy some land in my village. I planned to set up a vegetable business which is now on hold because of the pandemic. I never had enough money to even think of investing in business before and now there is another barrier. However, it may be for the best. I’ve been able to make decent money in the past 4 years and I think thikadari is my career now. I’ve worked in Gasa, Trongsa, Bumthang, and Thimphu since coming here. I’m currently working at Debsi. There are many workers in Bhutan from a lot of places. We all have to do our jobs, and try to live our dreams in whatever way it is possible.”

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