It’s 4pm. A plump little kid walks up the long staircase in the heart of Trashigang town. He is heading towards the thromde’s newly-opened open-air gym.

By the time he gets there, Nidup Jamtsho is exhausted. With sweats dropping from his forehead, the 10-year-old climbs on one of the leg-press equipment. He takes a deep breath and starts pushing the equipment slowly as he looks down at the bustling town.

Nidup Jamtsho, a sixth grade student of Trashigang Middle Secondary School weighs 40kg. This is his fifth time at the open-air gym, which was recently opened to the public. “I want to lose weight. My friends call me names because of my weight.”

He said that he intends to reduce 10kg in the next one month. “Once the school starts it will be difficult to make time for this but I’ll manage,” he said. “One hour at the gym and eating the right food should help me reduce my weight.”

For the residents of Trashigang town, the gym is the newest recreational spot. The newly completed gym lies below the road towards the hospital. The lone recreational facility has generated a new spirit to stay healthy among the residents.

Karma Wangchuk is a regular at the gym. He said that the gym allows office-goers like him to shed some sweat and to keep the body healthy. “Not many people are aware of the gym today. Once they come to know about it, this place will be flooded.”

Karma Wangchuk said that although the gym comes as a blessing to the thromde residents, the location could have been better. “It is located just below the road which is not always safe for children or even elders,” he said. “The area could have been extended because soon there will be many people wishing to use the facility.”

Trashigang thromde thuemi, Thinley Namgay, said that the open-air gym was long overdue. “With all the other dzongkhags coming up with the open-air gym facilities, residents had been requesting for one in the thromde.”

Given the difficult topography of the thromde, Thinley Namgay said that it was difficult to construct any sort of recreational facility in the thromde. “Looking at the positive response from the community, we are now going to construct another similar gym in Melphey area.”

With the thromde’s first children’s park still under construction, it is the kids who are more excited.

It is now 5:30pm. Nidup Jamtsho is drenched in sweat. “I feel light already. I’m calling it a day.”

Younten Tshedup |  Trashigang