A Couple’s Income Aspiration
‘We are both from Ngawang Ramtoe and we have witnessed the transformation of the village firsthand. The village was called Ramtoe before Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck renamed the village “Ngawang Ramtoe”. With no road, electricity, and water taps, we lived in darkness isolated from one another, and had to go to the river to fetch water. Housing was also a big issue as well, we used to live in make-shift bamboo huts roofed with banana leaves. We could not focus on working and generating income as we constantly worried about our house, food,
After Tarayana Foundation’s intervention, life at Ngawang Ramtoe has become comfortable, convenient, and conducive.
Our love marriage is 20 years old. We have 3 children, and all of them are enrolled in school. Our two elder children are in Panbari Middle Secondary School while the youngest child is at Memeykha Primary School.
Before the advent of agriculture, we used to grow oranges and take them to the market on foot where we got only Nu. 40 per kilogram of orange. When orange production started to dwindle, we progressed towards cardamom and ginger cultivation as well as the rearing of cattle, pigs, and goats. We are still trying our best and experimenting with different varieties of seeds. After receiving the Foundation’s support three years ago, we have started to live independently and sufficiently as we have started growing our own vegetables. We were excited to grow vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli – vegetables we only saw in town and had very little idea about how to grow and prepare them.
We haven’t tried selling our vegetables at the market because of the low price at Phuentsholing and in neighboring towns. I also take up construction and manual work at Phuentsholing which pays Nu. 10,000 per month for at least 2 to 3 months every year. This year I feel I will not be able to leave for the town as my wife is not feeling well. My wife meanwhile looks after the domestic animals and works in the field for her earnings.
We are grateful that we are self-sufficient as we cannot afford to buy from the market. We also enjoy working in the field as well. Since money is getting saved, we can invest in our children’s education. We take our children to Phuentsholing for shopping for school supplies. We also wish to buy electrical appliances such as the rice cooker, curry cooker, and television with our income but, with limited finance, we have prioritized our children’s schooling. We did not receive any formal education and did not aspire to do much with our lives. For our children, we want them to be educated, abstain from alcohol, and always help everyone.
Some of the pertinent challenges that restrict us to venture completely into farming are human-wildlife conflicts, water shortage, and lack and inaccessibility of the market. We have had numerous encounters with wild boars and monkeys eating our crops and attacking the cattle which discourages us greatly. The shortage of water supply in the agriculture fields also hampers the yields. While the absence of agricultural activities in winter also influences us to leave home for work elsewhere. If these issues were curbed, I would gladly stay home with my wife and children and engage actively in the field.’