The best possible shed


I’m in Shaba, a small village in Sombaykha. The recent earthquake damaged all 12 of its houses. Luckily, no one was injured. And thankfully, most of the houses have suffered only minor damages.

But one house was hit hard. It has been damaged beyond repair. It’s still standing. But barely so. And it is no longer safe. That house belongs to Ap Zhep, aged 70, and his family.

Fearing aftershocks, every family scrambled to erect temporary shelters for themselves immediately after the earthquake.

And because Ap Zhep was practically homeless, the entire village got together to build him a shed. They pooled their resources–they contributed tarpaulin, CGI sheets, timber and labour–to build his family the best possible temporary shelter.

I was pleasantly surprised when I visited Ap Zhep’s temporary home. It boasts a spacious room with proper floorboards and a full sized traditional stove. Plus it has a store room and a covered verandah. He claims that the only reason he doesn’t have electricity in his shed is because it’s not safe to climb on the roof of his damaged house to remove the solar panels.

But it’s not just in Shaba that the community joined hands to help one of their own. In Shebji, a neighboring village, the residents got together to build a shed for Aum Sonam and Dorji Wangchuk. And I already know that I’ll hear similar heartwarming stories across other villages in Sombaykha.



Facebook Comments:


  1. Yangka Chojay says

    Oh! That was sad to know.I feel sad when this types of disaster happens to our Country Bhutan. It doesn’t meant for the other country but same feelings to me.Any way Thanks for your news sharing to all of us who views this blog…

  2. This a good example for others

  3. the best possible shed maybe..but looking at the govt’s response, it is apparent that the best possible help comes from only our king, ourselves & our communities..
    various media have reported how they have received little or no help..our king takes personal intervention to comfort the victims, personally visits affected areas & leads the relief efforts.. and what is the govt doing? mere spectators is what they are..their response has been inadequate..
    the inefficiency of home minister minjur dorji to direct effective reliefefforts is there for all to see..
    i believe the ol has many a times brought up the issue of the disaster fund in parliament, but govt have repeatedly glossed over they see the consequence..
    and even as our king believes the earthquake disaster is serious enough for him to cut short his visit to kurtoe, pm jigmi thinley is travelling the world with his wife & preaching gnh..perhaps he needs to recognize that charity begins at home..he may enjoy his foreign trips which have featured in our media, but being in bhutan for the people at times like this is far more vital..

  4. ur excellency….ol…the saddest part of these villagers at sombaykha is that it is fully disconnected frm rest of the country..few officials who visited i heard is one and the onli LSN

  5. to top it off, the prime minister is in japan giving condolences to the japanese when his own people have just suffered from a quake.

  6. Yangka Chojay says

    Ha ha what the hell is going on here…!

  7. Dear OL, is there anyway of donating a small amount towards the earthquake. Is there any agency/NGO who will make sure that my donations will reach the right place?

  8. Paro – donate to His Majestys Kidu fund and it will reach the needy.

  9. Dear commentators, please do the blame the government saying that it is doing nothing. I think it is the government who is doing everything for the earthquake victims. His Majesty has cut short his visit to Kurtoe and is with the victims. Since he is the seeable devine God, His presence will definately console the victims and we are fortunate to have a God King. His command to the army and the dhessups with support from the local administration, everyone is doing their best to help the victims. The local administration, be it dzongkhag, dungkhag or the geog works with the instruction of the Home Ministry and this is the government. So please do not play the blame game during such times. You will only come to know when you put yourself in their position. Regarding Lyonchhen’s tour to Japan, I think the tour was already earmarked while returning from the GA and you cannot blame saying that when our people are in bad times he is travelling around the world preaching GNH. I would say that because of his talent and hard work, not forgetting Their Majesties advice, Bhutan is now known by the whole world. Pelden Drukpa Gyalo, Long live our Kings, God bless you Hon’ble Lyonchhen and may the people of Bhutan live in peace and harmony for many years to come.

  10. shatsha, no one here is saying that His Majesty is not doing enough. HM in fact is doing everything possible as head of the state and the armed forces.

    The criticism is against the Prime Minister who as the head of the govt is missing in action and moreover the elected govt’s response was very poor considering that they have around 20,000 plus civil servants, the national budget, RBP and 10 ministries and as many agencies under the.

    His Majesty with limited kidu funds and armed forces who are tarined for fighting and not disaster relief is doing much, much more. but i guess u already knew that and you are just trying to deviously deviate criticism meant for the PM against HM. shame on u DPT supporters who will stop at nothing.

  11. Druk, did I also say that HM is not doing anything. Infact what we are today is all because of Their Majesties and there will not be a single individual who would say anything against the King. What I am trying to say is everybody is doing their best for the earthquake victims whereas you guys are just blaming the government who was elected by the people of Bhutan. How can democracy go far if people like you keep on blaming the PM and the government. I would say that you guys are going against the Tsawa Sum since it was HM the 4th King who introduced democracy in the country and as per His wishes the first election went well. We hope that the next election will also go well whether we elect DPT, PDP or any other party that may come. I am not a supporter of any of the parties otherwise I would have also joined any of the parties and contested in 2008. So once again, do not play the blame game.

  12. Looks like the discussion is about our PM. B the way, he delivered an excellent speech at the UN in NYC. Very convincing and charismatic and he also looked very nice in our National Dress. I AM ASHAMED TO THOSE SENIOR OFFICERS IN THE BHUTANESE DELEGATION WHO WERE NOT IN OUR NATIONAL DRESS. They should not be sitting among the Bhutanese delegation since they did not look like Bhutanese. I thought they were some korean, chinese or japanese supporters of Bhutan delegation. It was awful when I found out they were Bhutanese. Thank you to those that wore our gho and kira including our first lady. To the others not in our dress – what is wrong with you. Are you not Bhutanese or you just half Bhutanese. When PM speech is talking about culture, tradition and sustainability – you reflecting just the opposite and going against it.

    FROM NOW ON – GOVERNMENT SHOULD DECREE THAT ALL THE BHUTAN AMBASSADORS SHOULD REPRESENT BHUTAN IN NATIONAL DRESS AND NOT IN SUITS OR WESTERN CLOTHES. We would like to urge our Hon PM or our Hon OL to ensure that our senior officials who represent Bhutan go about representing Bhutan appropriately. Anything less is not acceptable and they should be transferred back to Bhutan if they cannot be Bhutanese. It is disheartening.

  13. Tenzin penjore says

    Our PM should go back to Bhutan immediately. GNH is needed in Bhutan, not in other countries.

  14. just politicizing disaster! what could be more disgusting than this?

  15. Star, yes you hit the nail right on its head. I also agree with you. Bhutanese who go on trainings can wear any outfit they like but when it comes to attending seminars, workshops and especially while attending such huge functions like the GA, I think we should all give a second thought to go in suits and especially so when cameras and newspapers are directed towards you. We talk a lot about preserving our culture & tradition back home and the moment you travel out, everything is forgotten. In my case, even when I went for training about ten years ago, I used to wear gho while attending classes. The classmates were proud although while coming to the university people in the streets would stare at me. I used to feel proud. So next time we Bhutanese should make sure that we wear our national dress while attending occasions listed above. I salute the Hon’ble Lyonchhen for show-casing the national dress where ever he travelled. Pelden Drukpa Gaylo.

  16. STAR….firstly..i think honorable opp ldr brought this topic here to discuss about his constituency…and now i dont understand why u writing bout pm…and word bout first lady…who is that first lady…please make your ideas country where king is head of state ….queen is first lady…in country were president is head of state…presidents wife is the first lady..

  17. Sorry Yangdon if you did not understand my wiritings. English is my second language and I am struggling. I wish i can write here in dzongkha. Anyway, they say little learning is dangerous and I am feeling the brunt of it by you not understanding me. I will dre not call my queen first lady. She is and will be my QUEEN (nothing less). The first lady I referred to was Mrs.PM (hope this is also not incorrect). Anyway, Hon OL’s blog is very popular and widely read and I wanted to find a place to voice my view about our Bhutanese officials not wearing the Bhutanese costume in International meetings/forums. I am glad that You and some others responded to my post irrespective of whether I made sense or not but the fact remains you read my post and so will others and thanks to Hon OL for providing this medium. I applaud PM and others who considered our tradition. This is a big PLUS.

  18. PM mrs is not the first lady in our country my dear friend…STAR….

  19. I don’t know why Yangdon, Oh yangdon to be more precise is stopping STAR from explaining own views. We know this our OL’S blog but we can actually make one’s views on anything that required.It does not mean to bring anyone down by our comments, after all no one is perfect.

  20. Yangka Chojay says

    Whatever we do any works. We should do accordingly to the country laws. That’s all…

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