Between my trip to Thothormi (Lunana) and now, I have had a lot of time to think and I thought this issue was importnat and hopefully, I will be able to write something to this effect in one of the papers. This is just an attempt to pool together my thoughts on the subject.
The task of removing huge boulders and also breaking them; working in the very very cold waters of thothormi lake is a vert difficult job. While I hiked upto the summit, I realised it was a good distance for the workers each morning, possibly about an hour and a half. Although this may seem like a good idea at first, one soon realises that the hard work once at the site needs all the energy that can be conjured. I hear that next camp site will be closer to the lake, that should make it easier to save some energy walking.
I learnt during my visit that initially the idea had been to engage the workers from 0900 hrs till 1600 hrs with an hour’s break for lunch like anywhere else. However, the management later arrived at a decision to execute the labour work on contract, allowing for flexi-hours work. Sundays still remain a holiday and other free times often one would run into many workers wandering around thanza locality and beyond. Thanza is the place in the picture where the camp is posted.
Imagine bringing in some 300 people who mostly do not come from the locality into a community. Imagine then that they have hours to spend with not much to do after working. They go out looking for something to do obviously.When one thinks of it on the surface, one would easily be lead to believe that these workers are trouble makers, thinking of the times they may have gotten drunk and caused comotions. Imagine living in a very very secluded place, cold and harsh weather conditions, not the most apetizing of meals, difficult working conditions and after add all that, no family to return to or any engaging entertainment, in a place like lunana, there arent many things one could do as days pass by.
While I was sitting there, watching these workers at work, I heard a radio (walkie-talkie) crackle and then a voice. I was transported back to Thimphu for a second, listening to Kuzoo on the FM radio. I realised quickly it was the radio operator at the base camp who player some music over the walkies and the music echoed around the site. When the song completed, the operator called out to listeners to make requests and obediently, our guide named a song and dedicated it to the workers, once again, the site echoed with the song and it seemed almost like easier somehow to work.
Entertainment to occupy time in a more accpetable fashion is what I am talking about. Movie screenings, television programmes (and I saw people play khuru) and some other forms of entertainment would benefit everyone greatly. The camp leaders would have less worries and the workers would be happier works by that much. Productivity would increase and the gross savings of the families of the workers there would greatly improve not to mention the mishaps that could be avoided.