Today (May 25th) was well spent in Thimphu -- a day which celebrated the Buddha's Enlightenment. We caught a glimpse of His Majesty, had Nepali food for lunch and then visited a youth service project which took the form of a small traditional Bhutanese village and was aptly named Simply Bhutan.
At the entrance, we stood inside a replica watchtower and later were led to a courtyard in which there stood a wall that split the courtyard in half and had two murals painted on both sides. After admiring it, we were then given the chance to change into Bhutan’s national dresses. The girls wore kiras while the guys wore ghos , and later were taking pictures in front of the two murals.
While still wearing traditional dresses, we were given a tour of a traditional replica rural home complete with a kitchen on the ground floor which consisted of a wood burning clay stove and butter churners while the 1st floor had a living room and a altar room, a Bhutanese home’s most important room in which only holy individuals can rest.
We next took up the national sport of Bhutan: archery. Everyone had multiple tries at hitting aa target 10 feet away. Most of us failed miserably except for Brisa, who by her second chance hit the target! Having been shown-up by Brisa, we were then introduced to a resident artist who had cerebral palsy and yet was still able to create amazing works of art using only his feet!
Simply Bhutan gave us a taste of the country’s culture; we were still participating in various activities towards the end of the tour. One was the act of tossing prayer coins into a golden prayer vase which was floating in a pool of water at the foot of a shrine. If coins hit the vase it is seen as a sign of good luck and if a coin gets into the vase then that prayer would come true. All of us were fortunate enough to at least hit the vase. The final activity, in which three of us participated, was aiding in the clay stomping process that produces the adobe-like walls used in constructing traditional homes, the stomping process includes singing songs of forgiveness in case insects were accidentally killed during the stomping process.
All in all, we were very fortunate have had the chance to experientially learn about Bhutanese culture.