Pep-say

Leech buster

Thank you for participating in Big Picture -12. It was fun to follow your comments – most of you recognized the picture, but you still spent the time to craft interesting answers. Thank you.

My favorite answer comes from “Thinlay”, whose keen sense of observation, meticulous research and precise composition bags our prize: bragging rights! Here’s the scholar’s complete and  completely correct answer:

It is a white plastic bottle with narrow neck and closed with modified wooden cap, and tied around the waist to ensure that it does not fall off while walking. The content could be anything from alcohol to insects (including leech) killing potion concocted with ingredients ranging from herbal extract to lime, acid, salt to tobacco solution. It is carried by people who have to walk through, work or live around the tropical forests.

The complete picture shows Budhalal Rai of Yaba village in Sombaykha with his “pep-say”, a container carrying a strong solution of tobacco, lime and salt. Budhalal Rai, like his fellow villagers, carries the contraption throughout the rainy season and uses the potent mixture to easily and effectively remove leeches that climb up on him.

So far, however, Budhalal has found little reason to use his pep-say. It hasn’t been raining in his village, so the leeches are staying put. In fact, it hasn’t been raining in most parts of Bhutan. The rains this year are very late, and have caused drought-like conditions in much of Bhutan with disturbing reports coming in from  Trashigang, Trashiyantse, Lhuntse, Pemagatshel, Tsirang, the South and the western dzongkhags.

But our farmers don’t have a choice. Rain or no rain, they must do their work. Our farmers are doing their part. They are working their fields. And they are praying for rain.

We need to do our part too. If the rains don’t arrive, and don’t arrive soon, we will need to go on a war footing throughout our country to save our crops. If that fails, we will need to quickly come up with new ideas to grow alternate crops.  And if that fails, we will need to start preparing to fight a nation wide food shortage.

Whatever it is, we need to act now. We must act now, unless it rains, and the leeches come out, and Budhalal and farmers throughout the country dab them with pep-say.