Silence is a lie that screams at the light. The music, chatting of people in the corridor, the hurly burly of the hotel hardly bothers (Ata) Chenga. The pleasure of living in a quiet world- but still communicating with others through his works.
Ata Chenga is hearing impaired. But that is not impairing his work. Sitting on a sewing machine, he is engrossed in his work. If the music or the noise is not reaching his ears, his concentration improves.
Ata Chenga, 34, graduated from the Deaf Unit Center in Paro in 2009. To the relief of his parents, he is not a dependent. Likewise, Ata Chenga with his job is helping his parents. When his parents learnt that he couldn’t hear, they knew he would lose his speech and that he will be dependent on them for the rest of his life.
A secure job with the Taj Tashi hotel, one of the most popular hotels in the country, Ata Chenga is not worried and so are his parents. His father Kezangla said they are responsible to teach him tailoring and education when he turned 20. “Ata Chenga was a smart boy and we knew he will do something,” said Kezangla who got his son training in tailoring even brought tailoring machines for him.
Chenga did well and even did an advance course in tailoring. Today he works as a house keeping staff at Taj Tashi. He can stitch Kuthangs and Thanka.
At the hotel, Chenga is not a problem for the rest of the staff. The hotel’s human resource officer Sunil Kumar said Chenga is like any other staff. “He may be hearing and speech impaired, but his work is not affected,” he said.
Sunil Kumar said that in the beginning, they had some issues in communicating the hotel rules to Ata Chenga. “He was recruited as a contract worker and after seeing his potential, we took him as our staff,” he added.
“Ata Chenga is creative boy,” said his father. “Every day he tries his hand on repairing electricity defaults at home, mechanical errors in cars,” he added. “After he joined Taj Tashi, he looks wiser than before.”
Ata Chenga earns more than Nu 15,000 a month in salary and earns Nu 100 to 500 every day doing tailoring at home. Communicating is a problem, but Ata Chenga writes to communicate when his sign languages are alien to others.
“He can hear and talk when he was nine but at the age of 10, he got sick for a month. After that he lost his speech and hearing,” said his mother, Karma. “We are at village (Tashiyangtse) in 1982. We didn’t have a hospital nearby that’s why we couldn’t help him.”
Citing Ata Changa as an example, his parents always advise younger brothers. “Today, I appreciate my son Chenga rather than three younger sons,” said his father. “He looks after us and helps us financially.”
“We are proud to be his parents” said his mother.
“Nowadays I can see that most of the parents are ignored by their sons and daughters but Ata Chenga has given us the potential to depend on him and he can stand on his own feet,” she said.