Blood Donation Process in Bhutan

On a weekend where we actually had plenty to do already, Kuenga had the brilliant idea to donate blood. Being a fairly regular blood donor back home myself, I thought it was a good idea to check how things were done and maybe make a donation myself.

We made our way to the blood donation centre at the local hospital and it turned out that there was a mass donation exercise supported by the JICA Alumni Association of Bhutan. It was fun to observe how the donation was conducted here in Bhutan and compare it with the way it was back home. The biggest difference is that no local anaesthetic is used here. Gulp. I was too chicken to make a donation without anaesthetic, and I also remembered that my last donation was in October (just before I left Singapore) so I’m not due for my next donation just yet.

Getting Ready

After the donation, I shared a funny observation with Kuenga. The typical donation for ladies is 300ml, which is actually less than your average can of Coca-Cola (330ml). In local Bhutanese terms, this works out to less than 2 bottles of Litchee (lychee) at 170ml per bottle. I think Kuenga felt a little deflated after that factoid but was quite tickled at the comparison.

Because it was a mass donation exercise, a small platter of snacks was served with tea after the donation. On top of that, a packet of crackers and two bottles of litchee drinks were given to the donors. It was very nice gesture in my opinion. Turnout for the mass donation exercise appeared to be fairly good; I reckoned about 200 people turned up and it must have been a good day for the blood bank.

Tea and Snacks

Photo set of the whole process is here (if the mere sight of blood makes you really queasy, it’s probably not a good idea to view the set).

Momo Mia!

I was recently invited this past Monday to Kuenga’s house for momo-making and dinner. Momos are essentially steamed dumpings. In contrast to the pork-filled dumplings at home, momos are commonly filled with beef, cheese, or potatoes here. I adore dumplings back home (in all it’s forms: steamed, boiled, fried or in soup) and it isn’t hard to imagine how happy I was to be invited for momos.

Kuenga’s brother provided the muscles to mince the beef. Auntie (Kuenga’s mom) made the dough and rolled out the wrappers. Kuenga chopped up the red and spring onions and wrapped the dumplings. As for me, I took photos, and uhm, tried to wrap some momos (in the only way I know how, which is in the shape of potstickers/gyozas/é”…è´´).

Momos

Mince Muscles Mother and Daughter Beefy Rolling out the Momo Wrappers Generous Struggling

You can see the whole process through the set of photos here as I slowly (and painfully) get them uploaded so best to check that after Monday. I will link a few more photos on the blog once I get them uploaded.

We ate the delicious momos with soup and (my favourite) ezay. No photos were taken of the guilty (me) stuffing their faces, only because the mouth was faster than the camera. 🙂

Live and Learn

It’s a been a while since I last blogged. Sorry about that, life has pretty full here, in a good way mostly. I had a pretty fun weekend learning to juggle (!) thanks to a lovely Kiwi couple from Auckland who were visiting Bhutan. My hand-eye coordination had plenty of room for improvement but being able to spend time outdoors in such exceptionally good weather was lovely.

Seriously Fun Juggling

The weather has chilled since I first arrived. We’re heading into the end of November and the winter months are just round the corner. I’ve settled in mostly to living in Thimphu. There are little things that are a little hard to work around, like unwelcomed visitors in the form of fleas (I have been pretty badly bitten) and what I suspect to be a rat that paid a visit last night (which reminds me that I really need to get some plastic containers to keep my food in). Still, I’ve adopted a rather simple motto here: Live and Learn. Hopefully, that will carry me through the year, fleas, rats, and all…

On to more positive news 🙂 … my very sweet-natured colleague Kuenga has kindly agreed to bring an extra portion of food for me when she packs lunch for work. Thanks to her, I’m getting delicious home-cooked lunches like this and this instead of the usual fare at the canteen near the office.

Not So Typical Lunch

Talking about work, things are moving quickly too. We are making some headway but the real work is yet to start. There are some stuff that I’m not so familiar myself but I’m going to give it a shot. It doesn’t hurt to try, does it?

In Other News:

I’ve gotten a television and subscribed to the local cable service. I’ve resisted it for some time and it’s a little odd to have the TV in the house after almost a month without it, but I’m glad to have access to CNN and BBC News. My brain is growing a little insular here from the lack of exposure to international news (I would try to get my daily dose online if not for the terrible bandwidth) and it’s nice to catch some movies on HBO every now and then.

There are some small photo updates on my daily life on Flickr, including the funky new mug I bought and my first taste of the Betel nut. So go check it out (or not)! 🙂