Children are playing outside by themselves, the doors to houses are widely open and people walk on the street without apparently caring about others.Here I walk all the time from my internship into town crossing houses and corn fields and somehow I feel safe.I have even hitchhiked my way up to RTC by taking a construction bus.Sometimes when I take a taxi the driver will stop on his way to pick up more customers. The first time this happened I felt uncomfortable with the idea of a total stranger sitting next to me on a cab. I must even admit that taking the public bus the first time was nerve wracking to me...
I cant help but to pause sometimes and evaluate the situation. Where does my fear come from ? and How is Bhutan different from my home country ? As an international student in the U.S, I remember the unfamiliar feeling of walking on campus late at night and feeling safe. Or just even the fact I could walk by myself to Wallgreens or CVS. In Guatemala, where I live, I am not allowed to walk by myself or take the public transportation. Everywhere I go I'm constantly aware of my surroundings and who is walking next to me. I don´t like having the windows of the car down and I am terrified that one of these days I will be mugged.Here in Bhutan my experience has been the total opposite. Even though I do stand out as a foreigner, I have never felt disrespected by the locals. If anything they have been very helpful. The other day, I left my scarf in a restaurant and when I called they assured me that they would keep it safe for me. " Don´t worry Mam we will keep the scarf for you". The other day Billy left his bag with a laptop and everything was returned back safely to him as well.
Of course there are crimes here in Bhutan and people get robbed, however it is not something that is common to hear. Violence has not been normalized. It is rare to see in the front of the newspaper news related to violence. If anything the most common form of violence that is published in newspapers are rape cases. Definitely alcohol abuse might be a huge problem here and broken families are also on the rise. I have also read some articles on gangs in Bhutan and apparently the youth that are either unemployed or come from broken families find comfort in them. However, I don't think there is a comparison point between the activities of gangs here and the ones I'm used to back home. I really hope that Bhutan will continue to remain a safe place where citizens trust each other. There just seems to be a sense of common trust in this place that is impressive.
Marijose Vilá Class 2013