Kanglung in Trashigang turns into a dead town during the vacations.
College and schools are closed and students and staff leave for the holidays rendering the town quiet and still.
However, the new construction site in Kanglung is filled with music, loud laughter, fresh dust and different working materials. Summer vacation has been a busy time for some students.
A group of them are mixing paint. Ugyen Thinley picks up a bucket and pours water and blue paint together.
With a help of a stick, he starts stirring the paint in the bucket. His friend Sonam Wangchuck joins him to apply the paint on a newly constructed building. He has a look of satisfaction in his face. Another group of students joins them and looks at their work.
The work is tough but the students enjoy it cracking jokes while listening to music.
To help reduce the financial burden on their parents, several students in Trashigang make use of their vacation doing temporary jobs at construction sites.
Usually, students, mostly between 15-20 years, come in groups and ask for work, the construction firm owner said.
For the last 15 days, these students have been working in the construction site, which they said was difficult but could fetch them enough pocket money to buy stationeries and use for small indulgences.
“Apart from earning and learning, it is a good experience,” says Sonam, a class X student. “Every year when I go to school, my parents face a difficult time arranging money to buy me uniform and stationeries but this time it is an opportunity for me to earn my own money.”
Like him, many shared similar stories but some said they would help their parents clear ration debts with shopkeepers.
Additionally, Sonam Topay, another class X student said that working at the construction site has helped him gain new working experience. “It is not my first time working at the construction site during vacations,” he said adding that he said that by now he can work like any seasoned laborer. “Such an experience will help me in the future.”
Similarly, a class VII student said that though it was his first time working at the construction site he was already wiser. “I came to know that money is very hard to earn so, I will use my hard-earned money prudently.”
Meanwhile, the owner said that the students are enthusiastic and hard working. “They are competitive, which speeds up the work,” he said. “We would definitely accept if they come back next time.”
The students are paid Nu 400 as their daily wage.
Jigme Wangchen from Kanglung, T/gang