Phub Dem | Paro

The rural households in Paro are killing boredom due to lockdown either by working in a nearby fields or going into the jungle to collect mushrooms.

Although Paro dzongkhag Covid-19 taskforce did not allow any outdoor activities initially, the government has allowed people to collect mushrooms and carry out fieldwork.

Health protocols must be observed, however.

As per the directive, only one or two farmers are seen working in the field. But, are the mushroom collectors abiding by the law?

Towards late evening on Thursday, the patrolling team at Paro Shomu met with four mushroom collectors.

One of the collectors said that the collectors had to go in groups because of the danger of meeting with wild animals.

She said that she wasn’t the only person who failed to abide by the restriction.

The officials asked them to avoid gathering and advised to remain vigilant.

Tshering Wangchuk from Shomu, who looks after the village’s water supply, went to check the source, as the area ran out of the water after heavy rainfall the previous night.

The water source is about eight kilometres from the settlement.  “There are more people than animals in the forest.”

A cattle herder, Kama, said that he saw a bunch of mushroom collectors “I thought during the lockdown, everyone should stay at home, but everyone is in the forest.”

As the dusk descends over the valley, a group of mushroom collectors return home.  They are all furtive and watchful.