Between the two snow capped mountains of Tsapeteng to the north and Wangchenteng to the south, lies a family of seven villages in Sephu under Wangdue Phodrang district. Flanked by the hills adorned with greenness of evergreen Junipers, Pines and Spruces, and drained by the raucous Nikka Chhu beneath, the villager for ages lived a life in the darkness without electricity and away from the masses without road connectivity. But no more! They have a reason to smile this chilly winter.
Clouds Mushrooming over the vale Sephu.
Located some 75 Kilometers away from the district headquarter, Sephu Gewog itself is one of the remotest gewog in the district, though other villages of the gewog are located by the sides of the East-West Highway. For the farmers of seven villages, their life gyrated in the mundane circle of rearing the domestic animals, cultivating their fields with the frost hardy cereals, and obtaining the best forest produces mainly the bamboos for knitting the bamboo crafts for sale in the market. Until the establishment of a community school in 1990, the parents never educated their children so the villages just have a handful of graduates and few educated lots. This might be the reason why the villages lacked in developmental activities comparing to the rest.
Perilous Bridge that connects Darilog with other Villages
Transportation of goods had been the biggest problem for them as the villages are located away from the highway. Their aspiration of getting a feeder road was never fulfilled and finally they resorted to constructing the own road to their village centre where the school was located. They took almost five years to make the road accessible to motor vehicles and still, they have to ferry goods for hours on pony or on their back to reach their homes. But a few years ago, their road was featured in the development plan and it was maintained. Besides almost all the villages got their own share of farm road linking with the village centre. The last road to be inaugurated was the Nakha farmroad of 9 kilometers on 21st November 2001 by the Minister of Agriculture and Forests Lyonpo (Dr.) Pema Gyamtsho. However, my hamlet of Darilog with 17 households remains isolated without the net work of farm roads, owing to a mighty river which isolate my village from the others. Facing the rising sun, with each new dawn the farmers hopes for a better cantilever bridge to connect with other villages.
The Shadow of Darkness now Dispelled.
In the past people depended extensively on fuelwood for lighting and cooking. This has put an immense pressure on the nearby forests and of late people have to travel for hours to get a load of billets. They had to travel for hours to recharge their mobile phones, and the school and temples had to borrow generators for conducting important events and rituals but no more henceforth. When electric line transmission work was in full swing a year ago, villagers excitedly waited for the light to come and finally all the villages were electrified this winter. The farmers are exalted and they rejoiced the day of the inauguration on 6th December 2011. This would mean further improving the livelihood of the farmers as they can maintain proper sanitation thus reducing health hazards, reducing the burden of fetching excessive fire wood and of course saving the trees nearby their villages.
Besides, the Western Range Office of Wangchuck Centennial Park was also inaugurated few weeks ago near their community primary school so, this would help educating the villagers about the importance of natural resources and biodiversity. Wildlife ravaging the crops and preying on their domestic animals have been a menace to the people of these villages, so the farmers are now positive that the park officials would inspect the damages caused to them by wild animals in the future.
Yet, the farmers anticipate their community primary school to be upgraded to Lower Secondary School when the school marks its Silver Jubilee a few years later, and hope their wishes will get fulfilled under the blessings of almighty.