Not many can make it through the hopeless and tough times, especially when one sees no way out, and then there are those that rise out of such hard times, to find the spirit and the will to change the course of life to one that is filled with hope and grace.
Such is the story of 22-year-old Kinga Gyeltshen from Khomchar, Zhemgang, a former addict who after being trounced by the ills of his own addiction to drugs spent time in various rehabilitation centres.
Kinga, who left school when he was in class eight, is now leading a more productive life by earning his living from selling momos (dumplings) and porridge.
He told The Bhutanese that he is more in touch with the realities of life. “I have started knowing what real life is, and for the living, how one has to go through pain and hardship and it is not easy as I used to think it was,” he said.
He has been running his food business for a year, and has plans to continue his studies picking up from where he left off, and even plans to complete his degree studies, if possible.
“As of now, I don’t have any dreams or ambitions as such, but this is for sure that my business will be for long-term and given a chance after my graduation, and someday, I would love to be a counselor for the one who face difficult times and to those who are undergoing similar kinds of problem,” he said.
Kinga sells momos worth Nu 1,500 in a day and porridge worth Nu 800-900 are sold in one evening. He lives in a rented apartment in Olakha, along with six friends who have also undergone similar hardships with him in the rehabilitation centre. Kinga’s friends prepare all the momos and porridge while he takes charge of the sales.
Kinga was once admitted in rehabilitation centre in Serbithang for three months, sometime in 2009 to 2010, but it didn’t work for long as he relapsed into the drug habit again.
He was caught and booked for repeat offence of drugs abuse until 2011, and one time, he was convicted by the court and sentenced for six months in prison. Being underage at the time, he was instead taken to Youth Development Rehabilitation Centre (YDRC) in Chhukha and was kept there for six months.
Kinga recalls his early childhood under the care of single mother who was an alcoholic and eventually died of the disease.
He said most of his childhood was spent with friends. By the age of 12, he was already abusing drugs, tobacco and alcohol. “But now, I have changed after knowing that I should create my own image and lead a life like every ordinary persons,” Kinga said.
Hence, he said it’s been almost a year and seven months since he started his new life. He said he is thankful to Lama Shenphen who has helped him once to get admitted to psychiatric ward, and teachers and seniors who have rendered support to him. “For not being in a right state of mind, I have always been a disappointment for them,” he said revealing how he ran away from psychiatric treatment after having stayed for four days.
“But now, everyone is happy with what I am, and even praises me for starting a new life which was quite unexpected,” Kinga said.
“I would like to give message to all the youth, to the youth who are into drugs and vulnerable youth that drugs is not the ultimate solution, and it is no good for the body,” he said. “And to those who are already into drugs and hopeless with life, it is not the end to life as there is more to do and you can do what an ordinary person can do and create your own world,” Kinga added.