Eleven students of Wheaton College in United States, who are on exchange program at the Royal Thimphu college, invested their three days in the country to help in reconstruction of Konchosum lhakhang in Bumthang.
Resident director of the program, Prof Bruce Owens, said they moved rocks on the structure, plastered the walls, pounded the clay and put the bricks together.
“The main objective is to give back to the country in the form of such social service,” he said. “It’s special for our students to realise that the work that they’ve done here will be around for hundreds and thousands of years.”
The students said it was fun and rewarding to be able to work for the lhakhang and make a small contribution.
Carrie Decker, 21, an environmental studies student, said when she got tired at the end of the day, she felt like she has achieved something. “It’s fun as we make jokes while tossing the rocks, and it’s fun to see the pile of stones get smaller,” she said.
The in-charge of the reconstruction project, Karma, said the work the students carried out was of great help.
“They didn’t have to be paid labour charge or food and we could save a lot of money,” he said. “It was very impressive to see them work like other labourers. I was worried they might fall sick, but they did a great job.”
Caused by a fire that started from a butter lamp, the lhakhang was burnt down in 2010. The reconstruction work had started from October last year.
The students returned to Thimphu today.
By Sonam Choden, Bumthang