He is educated till grade three, a village monk, also a carpenter who is fluent in written and spoken Dzongkha. He belongs to the village just above Degala. My first introduction to the school and the community is all because of this person. He was in his late 20’s when I first met him. He is a man who has the final answer, “yes sir” to all teachers and the principal. He resides near the school with his wife and three children.
He is an indispensable asset of the school and without him, we (teachers) wouldn’t have managed things this far besides our regular duty of teaching. He is so good in Dzongkha that before the year 2008, we used to deploy him at times as a substitute Dzongkha teacher. To make him worthy of his ability, his Dzongkha handwriting is far better than mine. When I compare my Dzongkha ability to that of his, mine is at the ‘sea-level’.
One service that I am grateful to this day is he was my cook, washer man, house keeper and above all a revered adviser. I used to consult him on any decisions that I had to make besides teaching. I was all alone during my stay in the school and who will cook for me? I had to be in the school with kids till 12:30 pm in the afternoon and by this time my tummy would be rumbling. I had no time to cook for myself in an hour’s lunch break. So, he came as a great help. While he is around I don’t have to worry about cooking let alone vegetables and other edibles. While he is around, teachers like me will never fall short of local butter, cheese and other edibles. In the year 2009, a new teacher, Kesang Phuntsho, from Paro came and he too was a bachelor. Now, my friend’s work doubled, cook for both of us. Later we sorted out and then shared our meals together. In 2010, another bachelor joined us, Mr. Kinzang Dorji to the dismay of our friend.
I neither had to wash my plates after eating nor wash my clothes during weekends. I was so dependent on him that in his absence I had miserable time especially while cooking, many a time. There is only sad thing about him. He is unaware of the time factor when he drinks, which he occasionally does. If we in the school deploy him to look for cheese and other edibles from the village during evenings, then he would take advantage of this time and come home drunk. It is the norm of the village that you start a day with a pot of Bangchang and no wonder he belongs to the village.
Another good trait about him he is also educated monastically. So he is a store house of knowledge on local rituals (Rimdro). He can perform rituals like any other village Gomchen for he knows the dos and don’ts of such rituals. When we decide to have such rituals (School Rimdro) at school, he is the big boss and when the date draws near for the event, he is already there with things and accessories required for such events. In the school if we ever claim to be successful in all our attempts, then a ‘lion share’ of the credit goes to him.
He is a man made for others-a helping personality. He was my friend, guide and company when we went fishing during leisure. We used to return home in the evening with a pretty good catch. Here too, without uttering a word he would start chopping chunks of our catch into mouth watering meals. By the year 2008, two of us promised not to go fishing anymore because of the fear of public knowing about it.
I can imagine now that I really must have had a different life of my own if this man wasn’t there. I revere this person for instilling in me the sense of duty and responsibility and the satisfaction one derives from hard work.
In my time as a teacher in Degala school he taught me the importance of respecting each other as human beings, the need to help each other at all times and above all the need to take care of the needy. He was my guide and a trusted friend in the social aspect of life and he is a great personality in himself. He is Ngidup Wangdi, our school caretaker-The Good Samaritan.