In the month of September, the Foundation carried out a preliminary survey in Gasa Dzongkhag for the communities living in Yousena and Wachey villages under Lunana Gewog. The survey component focused mainly on the sustenance of the children living in the communities and to gather the total number of households for the REAP project. The Foundation’s three member team started their journey from Thimphu on the morning of 3rd September making it to Goen Shari, Punakha in the afternoon from where their grueling journey towards the targeted villages began.
Passang, a sturdy local young man accompanied the team as the porter with his eight horses. Even seasoned hiker like him admitted to the team about how challenging the trek could be. After few hours of rigorous hike navigating through muddy steep hills the team reached a hamlet, Ramina, and halted the night there. The next day the team set their journey to Yousena; climbing up the muddy narrow steep hills, crossing several chilled rivers and walking over frozen glacier lakes. The team finally made it to Yousena after their hike for four days.
Yousena stands 2700m above sea level consisting of five households (HHs) with a population of thirty people of which fifteen are children. According to the villagers, apart from the National Council Member Dasho Sangay Khandu and the former Gross National Happiness Commission Secretary, Dasho Karma Tsheteem, no visitor ever visited this community. Not even the local leaders have been there probably because of the small size of the village and the difficult journey to get to there. After the required survey was carried out the team resumed their journey to the next community, Wachey which was another difficult four days walk.
After routing the most challenging and adventurous Ganzhu-la and the glacier lakes below, the exhausted team finally came across a much needed bodily treat at a hot spring. The next morning, the rejuvenated team climbed up for two hours to the last village, Wachey. Wachey is a small beautiful village located on the hills. The community consists of fifteen HHs with a total population of forty people, of which thirteen are children. With the survey being completed, it was time for the team to head back to the capital to report their experiences to the head office.
The team returned with a sense of accomplishment after having hiked for almost two weeks to two of the most remote villages in the country, paving their way through most difficult terrains and having had the opportunity to witness magnificent sights along the way. “Personally, the journey has been the most challenging and adventurous one so far in our lives. But there is no denying that as we reflect upon it now, this has by far been a very satisfying accomplishment in our lives” said Wangmo, one of the team members.