Country roads

Ancestral road

I am in Dorikha. I got here this evening having walked up from Dorithasa.

My ancestors did this journey every year, at this time of the year, over the course of many centuries. They migrated to escape the oppressive summer heat of Dorithasa in favor of the much cooler Dorikha. And in the winter, they moved right back to Dorithasa to enjoy the mild weather there.

Most of my relatives no longer migrate between two farms. They now live, throughout the year, in one of the two villages. But the two villages are closely related. So our people still make the arduous journey between Dorithasa and Dorikha frequently.

During the last five years, I too have had the occasion to travel between my two villages frequently. My job, as a politician and a member of parliament, requires me to visit my constituency and, as such, to make the journey between Dorithasa and Dorikha at least twice each year. I enjoy this aspect of my job thoroughly. Walking through the immense rhododendron forest, punctuated by tsamdro meadows, is in itself a wonderful experience. But what is truly awe-inspiring is the knowledge that I am tracing the footsteps of my ancestors; and the powerful feeling that, somehow, I am connecting with them.

Today, as always, I enjoyed my trek up from Dorithasa. But today I made sure to walk slowly. I walked slowly, and I paused frequently, to capture the beautiful sights, to absorb the enchanting sounds, and to take in the rich air of the still pristine forests.

I walked slowly, because from the next time on, I’ll be driving! The farm road being built has almost reached Dorithasa. And from there it will continue to Sombaykha and Gakiling gewog centers.

Once the road is ready, our people will no longer have to make the difficult journey over the mighty Tergola on foot. I won’t have to either. We’ll be able to drive.

Will our ancestors approve? I know they will. The road, after all, heralds a new and exciting chapter to a hitherto forgotten part of our country.

Road to Merak?

Breaking ground

On 7 January, Kuensel reported that:

A 28 km farm road will connect Merak to Radhi, the nearest semi-urban centre to the gewog. On January 5, a simple groundbreaking ceremony of the farm road was conducted, which was attended by villagers of Khardung, Tokshingmang and Merak. The road will begin in Khardung, pass through Tokshingmang and end in Merak.

The same article went on to quote Lyonpo Jigme Tshultim, who is the Speaker of the National Assembly and the MP of Radhi-Sakteng constituency, explaining that the new road would benefit many people and that “Merak is one place with potential for tourism and, with access to road, tourism can be promoted.”

Exactly two weeks later, on 21 January, Kuensel quoted the Prime Minister as saying that: “…Places like Laya, Lunana and Soe in the north-western part of the country and Merak and Sakteng in the east would not be linked by road.” And that: “A road connection to Merak and Sakteng … would bring the community less benefit.”

So will Merak get a farm road? Yes, they will. Kuensel’s photograph clearly shows that Lyonpo Jigme Tshultim will give them a road even if he has to dig it himself!