Make Someone's Day!

Inherited family skills help keep fire in the oven burning

31 Dec 2010 Author ugeent

Back in the village, when other kids of his age played the ball made of old socks in the dusty small flat farm land, he played in the puddle of edgeworthia's solution. When other mates of his village enjoyed all the freedom of hanging around, he followed the stern rigor set by his father. Little more than a decade after, it's his pay-back time for the sacrifice. The family skills of Desho (Bhutanese Hande-made paper) passed down by his father now supplements him earnestly for his meager farm earning. Such earning help keep the fire in the oven burning in his home.        


For Tenzin Yeshey, 29 becoming a paper-maker was not in the wish-list in his wildest dream. Like any other child, he wanted to go to School and become a civil servant. A secure job with a good salary was a focus of life with great set of family. But fate had a different plan for him in the form of his father. Within the folds of his forehead is written that he is to become the maker of the traditional paper.  

 As a child he resisted when he was deprived of going to school to learn. When he was involved 24×7 in his father's small paper making enterprise, he cursed him with all his hatred. His father however, trained him till his son could master the art of paper making. In the perception of his father, it is beyond his earning capacity to send his son to school. But securing one's child future is every parent's concern, so was it for Tenzin Yeshey's father. In the quest to ensure his son don't go hungry when he fly bearing his own wing from the nest, he passed down his skill of paper-making, his next best option.

In the backdrop of the dwindling tradition and custom of our Country to the influence of the modern world, here is combined effort of a father-son in maintaining the art from dissolving into the myriad technological advancement. Preservation of Country's custom and tradition intact is also one of the four pillars of achieving our 4th King's noble philosophy of Gross National Happiness, which is gaining a great momentum in international arena.

The skills didn't come free for his father either. His father acquired the paper making expertise from one man named Meme Brelha back in the village in Trashi yangtse. He was too old to teach him that his father had to virtually carry his teacher on his back to and fro his home to receive the proficiency. Nonetheless, his father shed all sweats and did everything to get the talent so that it helps his family earn that extra buck.

Almost little more than a decade down the lane, such skill is helping Tenzin Yeshey make income which is used to repay the loan he has taken to build his home. Not only that, the cash generated expended for his children's education, which the final left over are used for buying the basic household provisions such as salt, cooking oil,  clothes etc. In a year, he sells the 1×1/2m Desho papers worth Nu. 10,000/- to 15,000/- minus the basic expenditures.

Incepted in 2003, he is gradually reaching the break-even point of his business. Today, he perceives his small scale paper-making enterprise as sole source of income for his family. He attributes his children's education; his one storey house and fire in his oven burning are all with thanks to his enterprise. But his enterprise is no exception to challenges and shortcomings. Operated with all traditional machineries and technologies, it urgently seeks to be developed. The tools, equipments, machineries and technologies used in his enterprise are all primitive and inefficient. He thinks that the aids and financial help from concerned agencies will come handy in his quest.