Ap Zhangba, the grasshopper, learns a lesson
“When your neighbour’s child cries, it hurts your ears. But when your own child cries, it hurts your heart.” ~ Zhangba, 35-year-old villager from Rukha.
When building their permanent houses, all villagers of Rukha counted on each other: One house after another was constructed and everyone was happy to help, knowing that their own turn would be coming soon. Only Zhangba, a 35-year-old father of three teenage children, living in a bamboo shack had to be reminded to take up his work every morning. He would rather sleep till midday, roam around without a care in the world, play his dramnen (lute) and drink local ara while the whole village was busy helping each other with house construction. He did not believe that it was possible for a very poor community to build houses for every family and did not bother helping his fellow villagers. His view changed dramatically when he saw steady completion of house after house and his turn was soon arriving. Suddenly he realised that if the others did not help him because of his past behaviour he would be the only one without a new permanent house. Zhangba wished that the working days would be longer and the nights shorter waking up every now and then thinking it was already dawn and time to get to work. He realized more and more, how important every single person’s contribution was to meet the target and how many difficulties he must have caused the others by his apathetic behaviour. By the time his house was constructed, not only did Zhangba have a new house but his attitude has also changed significantly.
The “grasshopper” had become more responsible. From then on, he came to help build all the remaining houses and never missed a day of work. Today, Zhangba is setting an example as a hard working assistant carpenter constructing houses in the neighboring villages and earns his own wages. He even hopes to become a master carpenter in the future. And he is thankful to the same field officer who always had to remind him to contribute his share of labor at the beginning of the project.