Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Buttertea at Sunrise by Britta Das


It’s the third book I read written by foreigner who did a volunteer job in Bhutan. The other two were Married to Bhutan by Linda Leaming  and Beyond the Sky and the Earth by Jamie Zeppa.

Buttertea at Sunrise is a travel memoir experienced by Britta, a volunteer physiotherapist who was placed at a remote referral hospital in Mongar in 1997. Find out more about the book here and to see many photos taken during her stay that depicted her story in the book.

I could feel what she felt and experienced by imagining the situation that she described in each of her story. The moment illustrated at the end of the book touched my heart so much that I was almost crying.

Although I wasn’t really familiar with physiotherapy and Mongar, each story was described in full details, especially the background of each place that she had been to and the situation that she encountered. It made readers able to imagine the situation inside the story. The patients’ condition was portrayed vividly and it hurt my heart seeing the plight that they came across in their lives and unfortunately, lots of time, due to the situation (lack of facilities, medical supplies, and manpower) and sometime forced by condition to survive or to earn a living, nothing could be done or changed to improve their health.

The condition inside the hospital was something that I’d never seen before in Bhutan. I looked at the outer layer of the hospital once only, when I visited Haa. I also couldn’t remember why I didn’t have the urge to visit the place inside. Not sure if situation had changed now after almost two decades. But perhaps there would be more manpower now (doctors and nurses) plus more equipment and medicine supplies to be provided in the hospital, even in the remote areas - hopefully. More young Bhutanese graduated and trained a lot in medical field, including in physiotherapy, which were the hope of the country and its citizen to get more help and more hope to survive, to recover, to walk, and to live again.


There was a beautiful love story too inside this book that letting people realized that fate existed everywhere, applied to people who came from different countries and nationalities, from different families and religion background, and so on. When the time was right, it would just come and make a great impact into both of their lives. It’s like, if it’s yours, it would be yours. But of course, both parties had to make an equal effort and determination to make it happen.

The story was simply beautiful for me. It reminded me a lot about Bhutan, its people, its place, its festival, its religion, its ambience, its hospitality, its friendship, and so on. I felt very grateful being able to find this book in the library as I never heard about this book before that. And I was equally grateful too that although I didn’t spend a year there, I’d experienced many things there. Thank you, thank you, and thank you for everything! :)

4 comments:

Passang Tshering said...

When are you writing a book on Bhutan?

Rima Reyka said...

Hahaha... I take it as a compliment. Isn't my blog post about Bhutan not enough Passu? ;)

Flora said...

another good book, how i missed to read it. I must get rid of it sooner or later...thanks charo, nice review as alys.

Rima Reyka said...

Don't worry Charo! You have plenty time and opportunity to read it once you go back to Bhutan :)

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