Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sick day

 Wednesday March 21st.
Today I am at home having a sickie.
I've got the ubiquitous 'cough and cold' that is plaguing so many other people at the moment. I think it has something to do with the change of seasons. People here cannot have a cough or a cold; no it must be the full cough and cold. It always reminds me of when people say ‘pants and shirt’ to mean clothes other than Gho and Kira! People cannot just be said to be wearing pants, no it is always described as pants and shirt, anyhow…

My voice was almost completely gone yesterday and I rasped through two lessons before throwing in the towel. Chador Tenzin, in my home class, said in his gruff little voice, "we will pray for you sir."

Chador, on the left enjoying a special lunch at school.

Now I am seriously hoping I don't need divine intervention to overcome my malady.
In class I pretended to search Leki Dorji's bag looking for my lost voice and was disappointed when it didn't come to light, he was protesting his innocence throughout!

Leki, "I didn't do it Sir," Dorji.

I taught using a lot of mime yesterday, which was pretty amusing, I am sure. I decided to approach the Principal at morning interval and he OK’d me taking the rest of the day off and he also reminded me that it was about the same time last year I was suffering the same lack of voice- he has a very good memory!

Many of the boys had chunks cut out of their hair on Monday morning as a salutary reminder to get it all cut. There had been many, many reminders about hair length and style requirements but a lot of the boys were still sporting their ‘hedgehog’ hairstyles.

The 'look' and the 'style'

On Monday the TOD simply announced, "Today is a god day for........ cutting......"
A collective groan rose from the raggedy and spiky headed boys.
Then and there teachers gathered chunks of their fringes and neatly snipped them off with paper scissors before depositing the severed follicles into the boys' outstretched hands.
The boys accepted their fate silently with the resignation born of experience.
The girls had some fair scrutiny but I think managed to avoid the shame of having their hair 'styled' by any of the Sirs or Madams.

Some close scrutiny there for the girls.

Yesterday most of the boys were sporting new short haircuts including two or three from my class. The haircuts were definitely 'home made' and done with the most basic of implements! One boy in my class was still sporting his 'chunk out look' and it didn't seem to worry him at all! Most probably the sharpest thing at home was an agricultural implement more suited to slash and burn than cut and style!

The look, the style and the pose!

I will try to get up the road to pay our Internet bill today. Due to continual outages of the net I have now dubbed it the Intermittent-net to describe the on again, off again nature of the service here. Vicky and I actually have two Internet options, one is Mobile Broadband, a data card they call it here, a USB thingy and the other, Broadband at home using a fixed phone line and modem router that plugs in and requires electricity.
The term 'Broadband' must not be taken in an absolute context however; it is most decidedly a small 'b' Broadband as speeds are woefully slow and even to use the word speed is something of a misnomer!
At least they have the Internet here, it is a great achievement for a country so geographically challenged to have sufficient poles, towers, exchanges, knowhow and kilometers and kilometers of cable installed and working most of the time.
Fortunately for us if either one of our Internet options isn’t working or we are without electricity we can usually get the other one to connect so we can at least check emails and Facebook or get the news headlines and stuff.
For the Broadband at home one we use recharge cards just like for our mobile phones to 'refresh' our account. They cost Nu399 for 2.5 GB of data that lasts for a month. Good oh, only problem being you can't buy said recharge cards here in our town, of course not. You can only get them from the Telecom office in Trashigang or any other regional capital on a working day, during business hours when we are, guess where, that's right, at school!!!
Now that we have finally been paid I will try and buy a stack of them next chance I get. People get 'friends' to do that kind of stuff for them very often, if someone is going to Trashigang from here they will be inundated with requests for anything from money from the ATM, to cakes from the bakery, to a gas bottle for the kitchen, to veggies from the (great but somewhat distant) veggie market to who knows what!

The bill I can pay at the Telecom office here is for our data card and I can pay it in cash and even get a nice hand written receipt on the bright pink paper from the big old receipt book, if the Telecom Officer isn't out of station that is…

I was lucky, he wasn't out of station today.

Oh the joys of Bhutan.


  1. Ian I really like this blog post. I haven't had this experience yet in my school. Thanks for sharing. I hope that your cold is all gone!

  2. Thanks Sabrina, Ian is happy to say the cold is all gone now.
    Cheers and keep up the good work!