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December, 2022

Gangtey Lodge Team Updates: Sonam Tshering, Sangay Tshering & Wangchuk Dorji

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bhutan’s borders have had to remain closed for quite some time now, meaning that we haven’t been able to welcome any of you to experience our great nation. During these hard times, while we have been able to keep our whole team employed on rotation, there has been a lot of free time away from the lodge for our team to utilise. We asked some of our team members to share what they have been doing during this time.

Sonam Tshering (Food and Beverage Supervisor)

What did you do during the pandemic?

After the outbreak of the pandemic, I stayed home to help my wife look after our new-born baby. When possible I looked for work to boost my income, I also went to pick cordyceps, a type of medically recognized fungi, which can be found about 5 days walk from Gangtey, in the high mountains.

During this period I realized that it would be a good time to further my education. I discussed this with my managers’, the possibility to return to school. As my plan was accepted, I completed one year already and after passing the exams, I was accepted by one of the best schools in Bhutan. I am about to start my next second year.

Did something good and positive happen to you during this time?

In one way or another the pandemic helped me. I gained experience in other fields and I contributed to the nation by serving as a De-ssung, and, most importantly, I was able to continue with my education.

Did you have time to undertake something that you always wanted to? If yes, what was that and what sentiment did that bring you?

I have always wanted to continue my education after completing middle school in 2015. This was not possible prior to the outbreak due to various circumstances and I thought it would always only be an unrealized dream. As a family man, it has been very difficult financially to undertake private school as I had just had my firstborn child. My family gave me their full support, especially my elder brother, Mrs Omar, owner of Gangtey Lodge, and General Manager, Ms. Ania. The pandemic has been a hard time for everyone so the support and love from everyone are really appreciated and mean so much to me.

Sangay Tshering (Food and Beverage Supervisor)

What have you been doing during the pandemic?

Since my mom stays alone at home, most of the pandemic time I was in my village helping her with household work. We have been gardening together, I collected firewood, and just covering everyday responsibilities.

Did you have a chance to do anything for yourself? Something you were looking for?

I did a month-long shuttering training organized by De-suung Office, as a De-suung skilling project.

A shuttering carpenter is a professional who specializes in creating formwork or shuttering, which are temporary structures used in the concrete pouring process. As there are many new constructions in our neighborhood, it allows me to work on job sites to create formwork for a variety of projects.

Was there anything positive that happen during pandemic times?

Even if the circumstances were challenging, it’s been really nice and good spending time with my Mother and helping her as much as I could. Being adults, having our regular, professional reasonability we don’t have much time to share with our parents. Also, I learned many things, like gardening and farming activities.

Are you looking forward to the lodge reopening?

Yes, eagerly waiting for the reopening of the lodge, hoping it will open soon.

Gangtey Lodge Team

Wangchuk Dorji (Sous-Chef)

What did you do/are doing during the pandemic time?
I didn’t go anywhere and was home helping my family and earning some money for myself.

How did you spend your days?

Mostly I was working in agriculture. We are the farmers in Gangtey Valley. The growing potatos was one of my main occupancies. I also collected firewood, was looking for dry leaves for cows, and grew vegetables.

I also worked for a local project near my house. I helped to build a dairy production processing unit sponsored by the government.

What else did you do during the pandemic time that bring you satisfaction and joy?

As I have a cooking background and I am working as a chef in Gangtey Lodge, I helped Eusa School, preparing a dinner for students for the school reopening ceremony. It was very nice to welcome returning students with a special treat on such an important day.

Are you looking forward to the lodge reopening?

Yes, and for the return to normality.

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