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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Ocean won’t be an ocean, with one less drop – Part 1

Shataksha Pry School Toilets Revamping



Sha-tak-sha Primary School, built in 1976
140 KMs from Thimphu,4 hours drive and 2 hours hike up the terrain
Taken at 6 am on 10th April, 2016

I was very positive from the day madam Kinley Wangmo and I planned, “Shataksha Primary School Toilets Revamping Mission” would be possible, no matter the amount it might incur or distance at which it is sited. I was confident we can make it happen within an allotted time and give it as a gift to the students there. I was optimistic, not because I had money or stuffs needed in my arsenal, ready to be disposed at any given time; but because I had faith in you folks. I didn’t hesitate even for a second to seek and ask for your generous help, because I believed in you all.    

Initially, madam  Kinley and I have really tired to prioritize and made a list with just 7 basic items amounting to Nu. 9,194, bearing in mind that we mustn’t burden the generous donors, and then posted on my blog along with our work plan and deadline in March 14, 2016. I was taken aback that no sooner did I blog, than donations started coming in, which I didn’t, on purpose; tell the status of donations I have received to other donors. Because, I really wanted to keep it silent until the deadline is over and then see how much we have collected, so we can add more items on the list.

 Exactly after two weeks in March 29, 2016 our deadline matured and if we tell you the amount we received, it will come as a big surprise to you, because even we were taken aback in the beginning. We received donations in cash from 8 generous donors and one donated in kind (he was so prompt to donate, as soon as I called him). Our initial estimated budget was just Nu. 9,194, but we received donations amounting to Nu. 38,194 JJJ from following nine generous donors:

  1.          Dorji Drukpa (NYC, USA)                                    US$ 200 (Nu. 13,200)
  2.          Chimi Dolma (NYC, USA)                                    Nu. 9194
  3.        .   Thugsey Wangmo (Australia)                               Nu. 5000
  4.          Nima Dorji (T/phu)                                               Nu. 5000
  5.      Tashi Tshewang & Tshogyal (T/phu)                  Nu. 3000
  6.          Sonam Chuki Wangdi (T/phu)                            Nu. 1500
  7.         Berin (T/phu)                                                           Nu. 1000
  8.         Karma Tshultrium (T/phu)                                   Nu. 300
  9.         Jamyang Phuntsho, Rinson Company (T/phu)  2 Barrels

Total Nu. 38,194

The donations were so kind that we could add items to our existing list by 3 and half folds. Our previous list with just 7 items later it became 28.  Following was our new list:

1.      Bulb holder                                                          4 Nos.
2.      Florescent bulb                                                    4 Nos.
3.      Cable                                                                     100 Meters.
4.      Water Proof (Plastic Paint)                                8 Liters.
5.      Pipe                                                                       100 Meters.
6.      Brush 4 inches                                                     4 Nos.
7.      Brass bib Cock                                                     4 Nos.
8.      Blue water proof paint (Plastic Paint)             3 Liters
9.      Red water proof paint (Plastic Paint)              1 Liter
10.  Yellow water proof paint (Plastic Paint)        1 Liter
11.  Blue water proof paint (Plastic Paint)            500 ml
12.  water proof paint (Plastic Paint)                     500 ml
13.  Phynol                                                                 6 Bottles
14.  Harpic                                                                  4 Bottles
15.  Nails 5 inches                                                     1 kg
16.  Bathroom Mirrors                                              4 Nos.
17.  Sanitary Pads                                                      100 Nos.
18.  Tooth Brush                                                        128 Nos.
19.  Spinach                                                                17 Bunches
20.  Spring onion                                                       7 Bunches
21.  Egg                                                                       3 Trays
22.  Plastic Barrels                                                     2 Nos.
23.  Track Suit                                                            2 Nos.
24.  Blanket                                                                 2 Nos.
25.  Shoes                                                                    2 Pairs
26.  Socks                                                                    6 Pairs
27.  Signboard (Female and Male)                          1 Each
28.  Delivery

I bought everything within the span of a week after office hours and stored in my room, waiting for April 9, 2016. The date madam Kinley and I chose to reach all the stuffs and get the works done by April 10, 2016.


The Arsenal stocked with goods, post shopping

Who all went with me?

On Saturday the 9th April, 2016, I was accompanied by two good friends of mine, Jiwan Gurung, an ICT lecturer from College of Science and Technology, Rinchending, Phuntsholing. He called me a few days before the deadline reminding me time and again, that he wants to go with me as a laborer since he could not do any donations in cash. And Tandin G, who is soon leaving for a chef training in India, he helped me with all the shopping too. We took a Bolero pick-up truck, hired for just one way ride, to drop goods and us….. Return ticket: it’s all adventure.

Work Done

With donations all received we were able to buy all the necessary goods to make those 4 toilets clean and welcoming. And everything happened as planned, from scrubbing the floors to shine, to painting the walls both inside out with white water proof paint (which at the beginning we thought of doing it with “Distempter”a  paint of a lower quality, but since we got handsome donations we bought a good quality J ), cleaning and unblocking all sewerage chambers, placing huge plastic barrels and a jug each in boys and girls toilets and then putting up a well designed Female and Male toilet sign boards. Lights, school will put this weekend.


Principal (Right) and Madam Kinley (Left), putting up Male and Female signs
Pic courtesy: Jiwan Gurung

How did we do?

We reached there at 3 PM, and right after tea break at principal’s home, we started our mission. Three of us, the principal, madam Kinley and I took charge of scrubbing and cleaning the sewerage chambers. My two friends along with other teachers and students took care of the painting department. It was all a fine sail, until we started to work on the chambers. They were all flooded. We scooped with jugs and threw 12 buckets of remains form each chamber, which took almost an hour for individual chamber. Each chamber had 2 outlet pipelines and the first chamber had those partially blocked, we cleaned them, but had to use our hands.  That was easy at least; it was the 2nd chamber, deadly clogged and cutting off the pipeline completely. Tired every possible ways, but it won’t work. I could see sweat dripping down my mates forehead, so was I. Darkness was setting in so quickly, but we really wanted to get those done that day only and leave the other 2 chambers for Sunday. Time was running out… I removed my shoes and pants, then got in, but it didn’t serve the purpose, for I could not bend to scoop since the chamber was roughly 1.5 sq ft and almost 5 ft plus in depth. So, I decided to go head down with a small bucket and scoop out everything with hand. To my big surprise, I fished out a huge stick, almost 3 ft long out of a pipeline. How it got there still rakes principal’s head J J. The other outlet was clogged with stones and wooden blocks. Removing them tried pouring a bucket of water and the sweetest sound of the moment was to hear the sound of water flowing through those outlets. I asked the principal and madam Kinley, “Should we call this a success?” Principal was so prompt to reply, “It is a super success!”

My Scrubbing and Sewerage Chamber Team. Before and after its cleaned
In the Pic: Principal, madam Kinley and lopon with me


Lopon of Shataksha Pry school, Jiwan Gurung and Tandin Gyeltshen, taking care of the painting department

By then it was 7pm, my two friends gave me the status, they have finished painting all four toilets and want to give another round tomorrow. With a smile on my face, I teased them once again, “That’s the way to go. We are not a tourist here, but to work!” Dinner was served at principal’s home. We called it a day.

On Sunday at 6am, right after tea we started our mission, yet again. Double painting started and I with my team started our fight with the chambers. But, luckily out of two chambers, one was completely fine. So, we just had to open up one and do some fishing. Everything was done by 9.30am and that was when we had our breakfast. Did some finishing touches until 10.30 am and then accompanied by principal’s family and madam Kinley we went around the village to do some sightseeing and also to see the damages done by the deadly  wind storm, a day before we came Shataksha Primary School. Headed back to Thimphu at 12 noon, after they have reassured us to keep those toilets on constant check, of which I am sure they will.

I call this, a mission accomplished.

Post work (Photo-story)




Girls and Boys Toilet


Chambers thoroughly cleaned and well covered 

The whole team (From left to right): Myself, Principal, madam Kinley Wangmo, Tandin Gyeltshen and Jiwan Gurung

However, I would be failing on my part if I don’t thank everyone involved in making this a success. Thank you so much all the donors, thank you madam Kinley Wangmo for giving me this opportunity to serve your school and also the hospitality. Thank you so much principal sir, teachers and all students of Shataksha Primary School for making all this possible. Thank you so much Bolero for dropping us there at a very subsidized rate and for your patience too (If you all need to hire a bolero pick-up truck you may contact on this number 17446850, he is such a careful driver and a kind human too). Thank you Karma and Sangay for helping me with your cars while shopping, and then Tshultrim and Tandin for your hands in shopping. If not for you all, then this mission would never have happened.

Thank you all la!

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