“If I lose hope, then how will I bring back my daughter”: Dhan Maya Tamang
Coma patient Sonam Tamang’s mother Dhan Maya Tamang and her elder son Pasang Tamang and her younger son Yanas Tamang met with the Minister for Labour and Human Resources, Lyonpo Ugyen Dorji on Friday, 19th July.
Sonam’s youngest brother Yanas Tamang said that Lyonpo consoled and advised the mother about Sonam’s condition and also that the government will support them in terms of whatever they need.
However, Lyonpo also explained to Sonam’s mother and brothers that bringing back Sonam along with her life support machine will cost a huge amount of money which the government cannot afford.
Lyonpo explained that they would have to hire a personal medical airplane for Sonam which is not in the hands of the government as they cannot afford it.
Yanas said that Lyonpo though indirectly indicated that if anything happened to Sonam (in terms of her passing away), the government will help to bring her body back to the country.
The minister said that the visas of Dhan Maya and Pasang will arrive by Tuesday, 23rd July and by the coming week the government will book the air tickets and the mother and the brother can travel to Japan.
Lyonpo told the family that the government is quite surprised by the people taking up initiatives to support the mother, but the government thanked the people who supported the mother.
Sonam’s family requested Lyonpo again if there is any possibility for Sonam’s eldest brother Pasang to get a job there so that he can be with his sister and help the mother in Japan. Pasang would also take on Sonam’s loan and pay it.
Sonam, through her sheer hard work, had already managed to clear around half the loan within a year before falling ill.
Lyonpo said the government will look into this matter. This was discussed earlier as well when Pasang went to Japan but at that time the government said the government of Japan will not allow this.
Earlier Labour officials said that they are trying to contact some of the candidates there for an invitation letter to the mother and Sonam’s brother Pasang.
The officials said they have submitted their documents and have already sent it to the Delhi Embassy and are now waiting for their visas from the Embassy of Japan. As soon as they receive their visas, then they will process for the travel.
The ministry is providing them to and fro air tickets, DSA for 20 days including travel allowance which is USD 300 per day. Including the airfare, the ministry’s assistance might come to around Nu 1.1 million.
The Gyalpoi Zimpon office has been helping facilitate such travels for Sonam’s family otherwise government financial rules do not allow for such expenses.
Upon asking about the accommodation in Japan, the ministry said since they are giving DSA the mother and brother should ideally manage themselves, but they have talked to the agent who said they will try to arrange the accommodation.
Dhan Maya said she would be grateful for any help on the accommodation as it would be very difficult for her to manage on her own in a foreign land as she doesn’t even speak or understand English.
She said her son was sharing with her about how the living standard in Japan is very high and everything is very expensive. Even her daughter Sonam said the same thing.
Since the government is funding them for 20 days, her son Pasang will help her with the directions and all the necessary things to do in Japan and then he will return to Bhutan, because the two of them staying in Japan would be very expensive, said Dhan Maya.
She said if she can get a small single room near the hospital, she will be doing fine as she will be close to her daughter.
Dhan Maya has learnt that the hospital does not allow the patient’s attendant to be with her but she wished if they allowed her that. “I am willing to stay right beside her all day and night,” she said.
Dhan Maya will be allowed in the hospital to see her daughter only at certain visiting hours.
She said that from her daughter calling her everyday she has not heard a single word from Sonam for seven months. She paused and started crying as emotions overwhelmed her.
“Sonam, even while she was hospitalized used to call me everyday and she used to ask me not to worry and she said she would be alright,” said Dhan Maya in between her tears and sobs.
“This whole thing breaks my heart and I try to console myself that everything will be alright and she will recover and come back to me but sometimes I lose hope,” said Dhan Maya.
“When I recollect the conversation we had years ago, it saddens me. I repeatedly listen to my daughter’s voice messages that I have saved in my phone.
I try and hold my tears consoling myself that I should not cry because if I cry then who is going to look after my daughter. If I lose hope, then how will I bring back my daughter?” asked Dhan Maya wiping away her tears.
Dhan Maya said that when she first heard of her daughter’s condition, she went through a lot.
“I lost my mind and I did not even know where I was and what I was doing. I did not even have my food properly for days. But now I have to bring back my daughter so I have become stronger than I used to be months ago. I have been consoling myself that her recovery is in God’s hand.”
The mother said that she is just waiting for the government’s call and she wishes that she can leave sooner.
The mother thanked Sonam’s roommate Tashi who has been updating the family on Sonam’s condition twice a week through video chat.
“She is just like my daughter and they have been together since the day they went to Japan,” the mother added.
The mother, before meeting the minister, said that when she gets to Japan, her daughter will become alright and then she would request the government to treat her daughter back home. “No matter what, she would feel safe back in her country.”
Meanwhile, the mother thanked the government and the people who have helped them through prayers and money for Sonam’s recovery.
“I am sure that my daughter will recover since I believe that god will not ignore the prayers of thousands of people.”