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Feb 22, 2012

Happy Water Dragon Year

Wishing every one a Happy Water Dragon Year.  May this be a year where you will find the energy and the vision to act upon your dreams and make them come true.

From my recent one month whirlwind trip to Thailand, India, and Bhutan I have seen and experienced things that have taught me more about life. In India I am reminded of how appreciative I should be of my life and of how the inept and irresponsible behaviour of officials, the wealthy, and the educated continue to make the millions in their country suffer. In Thailand I was saddened to learn of the horrible plight of wild animals and the Asian Elephant (100,000 in number several years ago and now only 5000 or so left in the wild) that have no protection from the horrible abuse they are subjected to by the tourist/entertainment industry.  And in Bhutan, the death of my Aunt who was a farmer revealed not only lessons of our own impermanence but also an insight into why the new generation don't want to remain on Bhutanese farms anymore.

I hope I will be able to delve deeper into these issues (particularly the one in Bhutan). The death of my Aunt was the demise of a generation in my mother's side of the family as well as of the little village she hailed from. While there for funeral arrangements I was able to learn about the innumerable problems of our rural residers and how these problems are interconnected to the larger ones that our country is facing; rural/urban migration; youth problems; loss of food production; rupee deficit; alcoholism; and above all the slow demise of Bhutanese farming life.

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by these social problems but every once in a while I am reminded that while there are insurmountable problems there are many who are also working behind the scenes in trying to find the right solutions. In Thailand, I met Lek (the Thai lady who runs the rehab for abused Elephants) and her husband Darrick (a Canadian) who are working hard to advocate laws to protect the Asian Elephant and other wild animals. And On the last leg of my journey - heading back to NY- I met a team of Doctors who were flying to Delhi for discussions to set up the Medical Training Institute, the first of its kind in Bhutan. While in conversation with two of them I was told of what they have been working on not only in relation to the Institute but also in terms of public health and the great achievements they have made in terms of providing health coverage in the rural areas.

In Delhi, I met a young officer from the Dept of Forestry in Bhutan who has been working on conservation and is particularly involved with Tigers. It gives me hope that while there is much to be dejected about, there is also a lot to be hopeful for. Because every corner you turn from dejection, you meet someone who is trying to make a difference. It is these encounters that give me hope in the new year and as a complainer by nature, I hope that every time I have grievance with some issue, you - who may know of someone or are yourself making a difference - will let us know of what is happening and what is being done to counter that problem or issue.

With that, I wish you all the very best.
Tashi Delek

2 comments:

Yeshey Dorji said...

Hi Sonam,

Wishing you a HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR.

sonam ongmo said...

Thanks Dasho and Same to you too. Hope all is well!