Health: It is almost 4pm and the recently opened outdoor gym at the Sherubtse College campus is filled with delightful squeals of children from the nearby primary school.

Dodging the cold air, Tshering is busy with the swings. Still in uniform, the 12-year-old says he comes to the outdoor gym everyday with his friends.

“We like to play here after school. We play around and exercise as well,” he says as he quickly runs past his friends to paddle on the stepper.

In the absence of a proper playground in Kanglung, the outdoor gym has become a playground for many children like Tshering. The only children’s park in Trashigang is located at Rongthong, about eight kilometers from Kanglung.

Save for weekends, parents in Kanglung rarely take their children to the park given the distance while parents in Trashigang town don’t visit the park too often.

Som Dargay, a father of two, says Kanglung is growing by the year but a proper playground for children or a place where adults could take up physical activities is missing in the community.

“The outdoor gym does serve the purpose of a playground for children to an extent and at the same time, we adults can burn few calories as well,” he said. “When facilities are missing, people make do with what is available. Parents and children here are doing just that.”

More and more children pour into the outdoor gym. A few college students and residents also join them.

“Other than exercising, we get time to spend some quality time with people in the community,” Tashi Dorji, a resident says. “The gym is becoming a healthy hangout for few Kanglung residents and I hope the trend picks up with time.”

Meanwhile, college students say they are occupied with examinations at this time of the year and this could be one reason why fewer students are seen at the outdoor gym.

By 5:30pm, Tshering looks exhausted. He gathers his friends and calls it a day. As they leave, Tshering says he would get back the next day and much earlier.

Funded by Zimdra Group of Companies with support from the Bhutan Olympic Committee, the outdoor gym was inaugurated on November 11 in commemoration of the 60th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo.

By Tshering Wangdi, Trashigang