Where the Heck is Bhutan?

Not long ago I watched an Academy Award nominated movie titled Lunana, A Yak In the Classroom. It is a cute story about a young man from Bhutan who complained about his teaching job to the state supervisor in charge of teaching assignments. What was funny about this story was that the kid wanted to quit his job, and the Super held his feet to the fire by reminding him he had one year left on his contract. She then proceeded to change his assignment to Lunana the most remote school in the country. To give an example of how remote it is he took a train to the end of the line, then hiked uphill for eight days. (Hint: Never complain about your job to the person who can change it.)

The movie used local people to act, so in effect this was a reality film except it was acted to a script. One question kept rolling through my mind, “where the heck is Bhutan?” The scenery surrounding the village of Lunana is amazing, mountains, valleys, and streams. The people were friendly and made the story believable.

The teacher finally arrives, and is shown the school. It is a one room stone building with open windows and a door. He is then taken to his room where he will live. He falls asleep. At 8:30 the following morning he is awakened by a little girl who announces that school starts at 8:30 every morning and ends at 3:00 pm. He groggily dresses and finds his way to the kids who are all sitting on the floor in the classroom waiting for teacher.

After several weeks teacher is making friends and exhibiting some depression about his plight. The young woman he unloads on tells him he needs a Yak. The next day she walks into his class with a Yak. It is a favorite from her herd (a Yak is something like a cow). The Yak lives in the classroom for the remainder of the story. The story has a sad but happy ending.

I had to do a geographical search to learn where Bhutan is located. It is between China and India near Tibet. The population of Bhutan is 788,6015 and it’s Himalayan mountain peaks soar to 23,000 feet. The capital is Thimphu, population 114,551. Lunana has a population of 810.

And now you know!

3 Responses

  1. Bhutan is supposedly the happiest country in the world 🙂 Partly because of its forbidding and beautiful landscape, it has managed to continue a traditional way of life. Foreigners have to pay a steep amount for every day they spend there, presumably to help them make up for the damage they are causing. But internet and mobiles have made it there and they have started calculating GDP. The future??

    • I found the people fascinating and the scenery serene. How close is your city to Bhutan?

      • Delhi to Paro/Thimphu is about 1200 to 1300 km as the crow flies. So, about 2.5 hours. Road distance is around 2000km and slow as the last third is in the Himalayas.

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