The Royal Academy

Ten students went for their Nature Retreat to Bongo, Chukha. The group was led by mentor teachers, Mr Tshering Nidup and Mr Nima Tshering. On October 26, the group travelled by taxi till Meretsemo. It was a warm place. The group interacted with the principal, teachers and students. The tents were put up in Meretsemo Primary School’s football field. The next day, the group walked 17 km to Jungley. This involved a walk downhill till Badingna bridge. The feeder road and paths meandered through cardamom plantations, fields of green mustard and brownish pink buckwheat. Lower in the valley, the group was greeted by fruit trees and tapioca. There was also a stretch of road with thousands of dead earthworms. Lunch was at the riverside under the bridge. After lunch, the walk was mostly uphill till Jungley. Waterfalls on the way were a welcome sight. The tents in Jungley were on two terraces of a paddy field. It was an extremely warm day, and the students were exhausted.

On October 28, the group walked up to Bongo Primary School through golden fields of rice paddy. The friendly principal invited us to have lunch in one of the classrooms. After lunch and interactions with the students, the group walked back through the village till the feeder road. Then, the walk was downhill till Jungley. After some rest, preparation for dinner was made. The bonfire and sharing of stories after dinner was interesting.

October 29 was by far the most interesting day. The group walked down to Badingna bridge. The tents were erected in a jiffy, and everyone was at the riverside. All students and teachers swam. The whole afternoon was spent at the riverside. Everyone ate more than usual at dinner. The bonfire under a clear sky was memorable. Shooting stars were seen.

The next day, it was an uphill walk all the way to Meretsemo. In addition to breakfast, the group ate tapioca, pickles and tea at a house. The group stopped for cold drinks in a local shop, and then continued the walk. By lunch time, the group was in Meretsemo. Everyone relaxed after lunch. The dinner was organised by the teachers of Meretsemo.

On 31 October, the group travelled by taxi back to school. On the way, the whole group ate dosa in the Dantak canteen for lunch. Everyone was happy to be back, and eager to share stories from the Retreat.