Today I turned in my final report on my placement with WWF Bhutan. It was strange to revisit all the projects and events in Bumthang and to be writing about them in the past tense. Even more strange to put a conclusion on it all. It made it really seem over… how surreal to know that all my tasks here are complete. The website is ready to go and Jigme is working on mastering the design system, I have imparted all the photography knowledge I can, and edited more papers than I care to remember.
Fittingly, Tashi and I sat down to brainstorm the last few places to see in Thimphu before I get on the plane Sunday morning. We came up with a list of 9 more “must-sees” and Jigme graciously agreed to take me around town. I will explain more about these places later, but wanted to get some photos up and show off some cool experiences.
We first went to the Folk Heritage Museum. This is site has a dwelling from 150 years ago preserved exactly as the people who once inhabited it lived. It was, amazingly, not too different from the houses of friends I visited in Bumthang.
Next we went to the Institute for Traditional Arts and Crafts. Here they train students in the formal aspects of the traditional painting, sculpting, and casting. Since the program just began a few days ago they were not yet working so hopefully we can return Friday to see them in action. Some of the more experienced students were working on their final project… a huge clay sculpture of The Four Friends.
A few other temples and a giant statue of Buddha (when it’s finished it will be one of the largest statues in Asia) rounded out the day. Another neat stop of note was to the handmade paper factory. Its really more of a large house that has been transformed into a place were paper is still manufactured the old way. Down the street was a place where thangkas (painted wall hangings) were being produced.
A few more stops tomorrow and Friday and my week will be complete. I am running into tourist groups in the streets and visitors from all over the world are stopping by the headquarters. I remember leaving for Bumthang 3 months ago wondering what it would be like to be on the other end of this trip… I never imagined it would feel like this.
Life is something glorious, because in this life we can awaken to who we truly are. – Tibetan Book of Living and Dying