Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Part 2 - All about Bhutan.


                             Hi again!
I thought I should tell you a little more about Bhutan, the country where I will be living for a whole year.

Bhutan is a very small country, and only 745 thousand people live there. That’s not a lot at all compared with England! They also speak different languages to back home. The main language is called Dzongkha, although in some parts of the country they speak other languages. Would you like to know some Dzongkha? It’s difficult for me to squawk it but I’ll try my best…

Kuzuzangpo-la (Koo-zoo-zang-po lah) : Hello

Kadrinche-la (Ka-din-chay lah) : Thank you

Give it a go yourself! You might impress your friends.

Bhutan is very far away from England. I couldn’t have flown here on my own so I’m glad I took the aeroplane with Mr. MacInnes. It’s so far away that when my pals back home are eating their lunchtime worms, I’ll be getting ready for bed! And when it’s morning here it is the middle of the night in England!

Because Bhutan is in the mountains, some parts of the country are veeeeeeery cold (in the highest points) and some are quite hot (in the valleys at the bottom of the mountains). I quite like Thimphu in the daytime because it’s nice and sunny and I can flap about with the other birds. But at night it is so cold I have to wrap up tightly under my wings.

My favourite thing about Bhutan is that the national bird is the raven! Crows and ravens are from the same family so that makes me feel very special. People here tend to like animals, because most of them are Buddhists. This is a religion which teaches about how important it is to live a good life, and to always be kind and caring to other living things. You can see many Buddhist temples throughout the country, and they are very beautiful. Hopefully I will learn a lot more about Buddhism so that I can tell you all about it.

A HUGE statue of the Buddha.
These are prayer flags. People plant them to send good wishes to all beings.
Bhutan is a developing country. That means that not all the people have easy access to some of the things we think of as normal, like schools, hospitals, electricity and the internet. In fact, Bhutan didn’t have television until 1999. That was a long time after other places in the world. Some children have to walk for several days until they get to school. Remember that the next time you have to walk in the rain!

This is the national costume of Bhutan (for men), modelled by Mr. MacInnes. It's called a Gho.

This is the King of Bhutan.
He is quite young for a king isn’t he?!

His father, the fourth King, decided that Bhutan should develop at a pace that wouldn’t damage the special culture and ways of doing things in the country, and would benefit everybody. He called this approach Gross National Happiness, or GNH.

GNH is very important in Bhutan, even teachers have to make sure their lessons support it!

The national sport in Bhutan is Archery. The archers have to fire their arrows at a target which is very far away, and there is a lot of singing and shouting involved. If an archer hits the target, his team-mates will sing his praises. However, the opposition team will try to put him off and will sing about how bad his shot was if he misses! People do like football and basketball too, especially as the King is a keen basketball player! But nothing comes close to archery yet!

Can you see the little white rectangle in the distance? That's the target!

I will tell you some more about Buddhism and GNH another time. But now I need my afternoon flap!

Tashi Delek! (Goodbye and Good luck!)

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