Wednesday, January 13, 2010

we have officially enjoyed the most fun day ever to exist in the history of all fun days. yesterday, the children and i had planned to go the Memalakha to see the waste situation in Thimphu first hand. because the upcoming exhibition with VAST will be dealing with the garbage issue in Bhutan (more specifically urban areas) i thought it was most important for them to see the city dump. most of them hadn't been taken to the dump and had no idea what to expect...of course, being from the U.S. i thought i had a good idea of what to expect from a solid waste management facility. (some of our dumps are the size of Thimphu City.) and so, we caught a cab to Memalakha and began our adventure.
though i thought i knew what to expect i realized quickly that this city dump was far more awful than anything i could have expected. upon arrival the stench was almost unbearable. the first things we saw were garbage piles, a tractor, and dogs. we walked up toward where the majority of the garbage is kept and the childrens' jaws dropped. we looked at the garbage...the rubbish mountain is half the size of the mountains that surround it. in a place as incredible and pristine as Bhutan, such a sight made me truly sad. i was frightened. i knew the pile would only grow into a mountain the size of all the beautiful ones that live in this Kingdom. most of it is plastic. we talked a bit about what can be done, what should be done and how things are done.
we all left the dump a little shocked and sad. we had no certain way of returning to Thimphu so we walked for a bit down the winding road that eventually leads up to Dochula, one of Bhutan's most beautiful passes. we decided we would try to hitch a ride on one of the many huge goods carrying trucks that roam over the winding snakes of Bhutan. That was probably the most fun any of us had had in a long time. Screaming, waving, and pleading...laughing, getting angry and feeling bad when the empty trucks wouldn't pick us up. Eventually, after finding a strange bag waterfall of shredded money, we caught a ride from a nice man. We climbed excitedly into the back of his massive truck, and sat among stones, the chilly wind in no way hindering our beaming smiles and laughter. we ended up at Dochula, thrilled at our luck and absolute disregard for any concrete plan. we played in snow, walked over fallen tree trunk bridges, made a fire and had some lunch. it all ended with a desperate dash to hitch a ride on another giant truck.
the day was beautiful...full of unexpected adventures, hard lessons, and free flying through the Himalayas!

the children have written for you all again...
Pema Lahm:
"My favourite part was when we went to Dochula. We were asking lift and when we got it we were all excited. We all waved to the people we met on the way.
At Memalakha I gt so frustrated because it smells so bad and it look so dirty. There was dogs staying there. That is because people don't know how to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Thank you."
Tandin Tshewang (Palu):
"My favorite part.
My favorite part was in the truck. It was so funny that our hairs were all stand up because of the wind.
The problem was in Memalakha that the boys were bullying us. We can fix the problem by ignoring.
When we saw the garbage in the Memalakha we were so unhappy as there is like buildings of garbage."
Tandin Tshewange (Pala):
"My favourite part of yesterday was when we went on the truck and our butts were hurting very much because of the small stones trying to get into our butts.
And the problem is that the garbage is not dumped in proper place. The city corporation is also not separating the garbage. And the solution is that our government should put more laborers to do the work and separate the garbage."
"About the Memalakha
Favourite part or time I had was playing on truck and walking along the road.
and when I went to Memalakha I felt very strange because the garbage wasn't on the proper place it was everywhere on the hills on the road and everywhere. Even at the mountain and most of them were plastic the most harmful thing to the nature. The best things to maintain is to use the three R's Reduce, Reuse and Recycle and a strange thing that I saw was pieces of money but we brought in VAST to make something to make sculpture for the exhibition.
Thank you."
Sangay Nidup:
"Yesterday we went to Memalakha and Dochula. We went into the truck and we ate lunch at the Dochula. The Dochula was so cold and my friend Sonam was freeze, he didn't even wear coat. At two o'clock, we came back to the VAST. At five o'clock we went for party. We ate momo and cake.
Thank you."
Drakpa Kekdrup:
"Yesterday 11/01/10 it was very interesting and I will never forget in my life.
It goes like this from Thimphu to Memalakha we the students and Mam Xochitl went to taxi. After we reached there we saw a huge garbage pile up one after another. I was very upset when I saw the garbage and I felt so sad.
When we come back we saw a lot of money that is cut into pieces and I was shocked. I don't know what to do. One of our friend told to collect in my scarf.
We went to Dochula in the truck from Memalakha and when we reached there I first went and play snow. It was my interesting day. We went to one of the hotels and it was closed. We saw a ground and we made fire there and after sometime we ate lunch.
When we come back from there we came in DCM and it was fun. When we reached there we came back in bus. Finally, we reached here without any problem."
Sonam Tshering:
"My favourite part of yesterday is when we went up to Dochula by the truck and clowned by the DCM. I am very happy to have this kind of journey and I always like to learn and play snow when we reach at Dochula. We all are happy when we go down from Dochula. Some of them was hurting their butts when we reached at rough roads and some of their hair was all stand up because of the wind. Thank you."
Lobzang Zangpo:
"Yesterday we went to Memalakha to watch the garbage. There was piled of garbage. We get very upset and we think that we should need machines to reuse. Half of the mountain was garbage. We went back to park and we saw the moneys cut in half in all the ways.
We take lift in the truck and go to Dochula and their we make fire and we came back in another turck. We came back to VAST on the city bus."
'VAST Ugyen' (our unofficial spokesperson):
"My nice part was at truck. In there was small stone. Our problem was that we saw a money beside the road and put the money in the bag and went to Dochula for lunch and came back home in the truck. (Memalakha is bad place for lunch and people throw things in there.)"

Beautiful times continue to be shared...there is always more to come.

As always...we all send our happy greetings from the Kingdom of Bhutan!

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