Last Friday we set out on our three-day trek. The weather was a mix of hot sunshine and cool, drizzly rainstorms, which added to the challenge of our long days hiking up streams and over the Febila mountain pass—3,957 meters in elevation (close to 12,000 feet). Each day we were rewarded with a delicious meal and a warm campfire; our nights were spent in tents trying to stay dry and out of the rain. The landscape views on the trek were some of the most breathtaking thus far. Mountains of lush, enchanted forests, alive with the sounds of birds and running rivers, amidst the clouds; it made all of our physical efforts well worth it. At the end of the trek we were also able to see more of Bhutan’s beauty when we visited the sacred site Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake).
The forestry trainees have shared our UWICE campus in Bumthang had their graduation ceremony this week. We got to attend the ceremony and participate in the festivities following the graduation. Wearing highly colorful and formal ghos and kiras, the trainees and a local band preformed traditional and modern Bhutanese dances and song. We were able to participate by joining in and learning one of the traditional dances. Also, we were able to contribute beautiful songs dedicated to the trainees. Aanchal sang a lovely Hindi song and Stephen sang one by The Beatles. I guess all of our karaoke practicing has been paying off!
Wednesday was our last day with the trainees so we celebrated by performing a dance, choreographed by Rebecca, and having a formal dinner with all of us together. It was a perfect way to spend our last night together. We were able to say goodbye and thank them for the friendships we’ve formed. And after dinner, we danced all night.
Now we are in the midst of a very busy week. After quizzes and essays and fieldwork activities, we have been working on our research projects. Forming questions, researching and developing them all week, we are now beginning research in the field. The next six days will be jam-packed with our projects; some of us will be in the forest and in streams while others will be in the town conducting interviews. After our work in the field, we have conferences to look forward to—presenting the data that we will collect.
Cheers from the field!