Saturday, November 26, 2011

“I wish I were rich”

There was a wave of excitement and happiness all over the country. Our beloved King was to wed the Royal Bride Jetsun in October 13. Streets, roads, buildings and chortens were all adorned in sparking lights and all Bhutanese citizens were in a wild festive mood. But amongst this, one Patients Guest House at JDWNRH was dreadfully cold and didn’t react to the most anticipating national festivity. This welfare hostel is a home for about 33 homeless people, kidney failure patients who are undergoing dialyses and for the destitute and dying. 
                                          Pic: Patients in front of the welfare hostel

They live in a catastrophic condition that they agonizingly spend each day without good foods, good clothes and good medical treatments. Some feed on the forlorn hope, a hope for the miraculous intervention to occur to them that can change their life. Others are giving up their hope of life altogether and waiting miserably for the unquestioned future. Death. Their families, relatives and friends are also equally burdened and depressed. In the past, many Dashos, Lyonpos and MPs promised them hope but forgot them when they went back. 
Not quite a handful of days before the Royal Wedding, Lhamo Drukpa, the talented and charismatic national film artist, along with Tashi Namgay (Founder of Bhutan Kidney Association) visited the Patients Guest House. She wanted the patients to feel that they are loved, happy and more importantly to uplift their spirits to make them able to join in the celebration of Royal Wedding. 
                                       Pic: Lhamo Drukpa (4th from the left) with the patients

She stayed in very close touch with the patients giving them tender loving care. As an affectionate friend, she consoled them and shared their plights. As a caring sister, she hugged and nursed their wounds. And as a loving mother, she cried with them and fed hopes and aspirations upon them. This went on for a considerable length of time. Meanwhile, she also delighted the patients with her magical voice. She, then, donated groceries (rice, eggs, biscuits, noodles, milk and soaps) and winter blankets to all the patients. 

                                       Pic: Lhamo Drukpa (2nd from left) distributing gorceries

Her inspiration, humility and grace remarkably spread all over the house. Surprise and happiness on their faces, all the patients emerged joyfully out of their beds in a worshipful gratitude for her. The otherwise depressed patients remarkably resurrected in confidence, bliss and abundance.
So, during the Royal Wedding, all the patients excitedly crammed in front of the TV and watched the marriage ceremony proceedings. They graciously snacked on the biscuits and noodles brought to them by Lhamo Drukpa as they glued to the TV. They were as excited and jubilant as any other Bhutanese citizen and were praying for the long life of the Royal Couple.
I just imagine how proud our beloved King and Queen would be to hear about the good work she did to the 33 patients for the Royal Wedding.
Today, Lhamo Drukpa visits the Patient Guests House at least once a month with groceries. During the winter, she donates blankets and garments. Also, she organizes religious talks for the patients in a regular interval. Very recently, she invited Chung Rimpoche, the founder of Ati Foundation when the patients received preaching and blessings. 

                                           Pic: Chung Rimpoche at the guests house

She also looks after about 30 monks in a dratshang in Lhuentse. Other time, you would see her with the homeless senior citizens in the Thimphu Street, talking to them and buying meals and clothes for them. “I wish I were rich,” she would smile altruistically each time we meet.
She often travels to Vellore in India as most Bhutanese patients referred there for further medical treatments are in pathetic conditions. Though the RGOB covers the travels, surgery and medication expenses, there are many hidden costs associated that are not covered by the government. For example, blood. A unit of blood costs Rs 5,500. There are some patients who need about 5 units of blood everyday. Also, there are many patients who have to extend their stay in Vellore due to medical complications and unmatched blood groups of the donors. This leads to major financial problems and depression to the patients and to their families.
As a friend, co-worker and fan, I thoroughly appreciate the sincere, selfless and dedicated works done by Lhamo Drukpa. May she live long!
Today, Lhamo Drukpa is a board member to the Motion Pictures Association of Bhutan. She is one of the most committed members of the Bhutan Kidney Association.


  1. A wonderful post, Rikku sir. It's very kind of Lhamo Drukpa to have done such graceful deeds to humanity. if only people like her were more in number and as she said, much richer, a helpful society and community would prevail. Nevertheless, what she is doing deserves special praise and appreciations from us. Keep up the good work and May God Bless her to keep doing such things. :) Wish her a happy life. Keep posting.

  2. God bless Lhamo Drukpa........and interesting post sir as always..:) thanks for sharing

  3. As always, truly an inspirational post. Wish there be lots more of Lhamo Drukpa in Bhutan.

  4. I could not stop my tears, kudos to Lhamo and the author posting it