Tshering Namgyal | Mongar

It was a normal day in Muhung, Mongar, on February 27. Sangay Pelmo and her mother, 87, were at the relative’s house to see their sick aunt who just returned from Thimphu. Her husband and daughter were at work preparing the fields for the upcoming paddy cultivation work.

As they prepared to leave for their house, they saw their house on fire. The family shouted for help and despite all the neighbours coming out to contain the fire, they couldn’t save the house or the belongings. The family was rendered homeless in minutes.

The village community with the help of gewog staff and teachers constructed a makeshift hut. The husband’s relative in Thimphu has also helped the family with bedding materials.

To the family’s relief, they received Druk Gyalpo’s kidu package consisting of cash and kits delivered by the Mongar dzongrab.

Sangay Tenzin, 57, the husband, said the house was built four years ago. The two-storied traditional house was built with a loan of Nu 320,000 from Bhutan Development Bank on top of the money they saved for years.

Sangay Pelmo said the family just cleared the remaining loan amount borrowed from the bank a month ago from the income they made from selling vegetables, tengma (flattened maize) and rice, recently. The family also lost about Nu 30,000 saved to fix window frames that had been kept open due to financial problems.

“Our house was a result of our hard work round the year for years. Life was getting better with a house and then suddenly it is gone,” said Sangay Pelmo, a mother of three.

The family is worried about the monsoon. A storm recently blew away the roof of their makeshift house.  “There is no way we can build another house and I am worried if the temporary shed could survive the rainy season,” said Sangay Pelmo.

Muhung-Shiling tshogpa, Gayleg Norbu, said the couple is hardworking and played an exemplary role in the farmers’ group in the chiwog. “They repaid a loan by working hard in their fields.”

Meanwhile, the cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained.