In 2009, two AdventureWomen groups had the opportunity and privilege to “give back” to the people of Bhutan with three philanthropic, humanitarian projects integrated into our Bhutan adventure vacations just for women. We had such an amazing experience and Bhutan is such a fascinating country, AdventureWomen is traveling back to Bhutan in October 2014!
While in Bhutan, we were immersed in the culture, history, and Buddhist practices of the country as we hiked, explored and learned about her traditions and discovered her many treasures. In this spiritually-rich country, human relations and Buddhist beliefs outweigh economic indicators and “gross national happiness” is promoted by the King of Bhutan as a measure of his enchanting country’s progress. What a concept!
Read more about the experiences and stories of some of the AdventureWomen travelers who joined us in Bhutan through their own words and images:
Our first AdventureWomen group walked to a nunnery, located at 12,000 foot elevation, to donate warm, wool blankets for the winter to each of 50 nuns. Our second group donated fleece jackets to the nuns.
“Walking and climbing to the nunnery, young nuns came to help us get to the top. The most touching moment was when an 11 year old nun told me how happy it made the old nuns, who got very cold in winter and had no one to bring them warm clothes.”
“How enriched I am by the sheer beauty of the landscape, the architecture, but most especially the lovely smiling faces of the Bhutanese.”
AdventureWomen donated children’s books written in English to grade schools. In Bhutan, children are taught English at an early age. (Photo by Christine Hansen)
“Something I found amazing was the delight in the eyes of the schoolchildren when we donated the books.”
“A highlight of the trip was wearing the traditional women’s dress called a Kira. The Bhutanese women wear it with much more grace and ease, but it made me feel special… .”
AdventureWomen in traditional dress for a party at our outfitter’s house.
“For the rest of my life, I’ll always remember the beautiful Bhutanese smiles and enthusiastic waves we received whether walking through a rice field or lumbering over a mountain pass.”
Tiger’s Nest is on the cliff and looks like it is growing out of the rocks.
It is 3,000 feet above the floor of Paro Valley.
“Never did I think I would see Taktshang Monestery (Tiger’s Nest) with my own eyes, much less hike to it and go inside. Truly the stuff of dreams.”
“Bhutan was magical. Thank you for the experience. It was truly life altering.”
We made it to Tiger’s Nest and are celebrating before being allowed, by special permit, to enter the monastery and its holy temples.
“Waa Haa!” (a celebratory Bhutanese exclamation)
A Final Note re AdventureWomen’s Bhutan Humanitarianism: The Nun Project
After visiting the nunnery high in the mountains of Bhutan and donating blankets and jackets, it became clear that there is one more piece of clothing that the nuns need to keep them even warmer during brutal Himalayan winters. It is a warm woolen dress, or “chuba,” plus a pair of socks and shoes. Sonam Jatso, our guide and outfitter, put together a budget based on what this would cost to outfit 50 nuns and one lama. He came up with a total of $5,000 U.S. (a $100 donation per nun).
We raised a total of $4,000! Thank you to all who contributed! I am very excited that AdventureWomen is supporting this wonderful project. As Americans, we are extremely lucky and privileged human beings. It is a joyful experience to be able to share some of that with those who are less fortunate in the United States or in another part of the world.
– Susan Eckert