At this time last year, Nimtola Primary School in Dagana ran out of ration to feed its students. As monsoons blocked roads and cut off the school completely, rations had to be airlifted to the school.
Learning the lesson, the school was prepared for monsoon this year.
After the school resumed following the summer break, it began stocking ration. Monsoon had begun by then but the school quickly transported the World Food Programme ration.
Just after it completed transporting the ration, rains blocked the Dorona gewog Centre road.
Dorona gewog has been receiving continues moderate rainfall for over a month and the road continues to remain blocked at several locations. It has been almost two months that no vehicles have plied the road.
School principal, Pem Tshering, said that while the road still remains blocked, the school does not need to worry. “We’ve stocked enough ration to last until October,” he said.
The school staff have also stocked rations. “We tried to complete important work early so that it’s not affected by road block,” the principal said.
Besides gewog officials, residents make sure they get their work done before monsoon.
Last year, 24 villagers carried the ration from Geserling Central School, where Nimtola’s ration is stored. Villagers carried 24 bags of rice, two bags of lentils, two bags of chickpeas, and a carton of cooking oil. But that lasted for a week.
When the ration was exhausted, supplies were airlifted from the Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited (FCB), Phuentsholing.
The school has arranged a proper storage space this year to stock ration, which could not be done last year, according to the principal. “Weather here is always gloomy that spoils the food supplies.”
He said that it was because of improper storage space that caused ration shortage last year and the stock was kept at Geserling Central School.
However, the school struggles to provide a balanced diet to students. The students are served meat as and when it is available. The principal said they ensure that they serve meat at least once a month.
Students were served eggs when the road was pliable. Dorona does not have poultry farms to supply eggs to the school.
Pem Tshering also said that the school lacks adequate budget to buy eggs from the local market. “We’re able to maintain a balanced diet when all circumstances are favourable.”
He said that students are, however, provided chickpeas and lentils regularly to meet protein requirement. “The school gets enough vegetables from nearby villages.”
The school has 125 students.
Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang