lynsey addario, photographer

Bhutan

Bhutanese monks take a break from morning studies in the 8th century Kurjey Lhakang Monastery in Jakar, in the province of Bhumthang, Bhutan, April 28, 2007.  While Bhutan is Bhuddist, Bhumthang is considered the spiritual heart of the country.
  
Young Bhutanese siblings dance hip hop they learned from watching TV and movies in their parents' bar in downtown Thimphu, Bhutan, May 11, 2007. Many young kids have begun dressing like their favorite hip-hop stars, a trend that has arisen since Bhutan opened the country to cable TV in 1999, and started allowing more foreigners to enter Bhutan as tourists annually. Bhutan, closed to foreign visitors until 1974, is on the cusp of change from a very traditional, isolated country to being more influenced by the west and western values.
  
Zangmo, about 85, waits for hand-outs of extra potatoes from two young men preparing their potato harvest for sale in the village of Zhangkhar, on the road to Dramatse, in eastern Bhutan, August 8, 2007.  Though there are no traditional homes for the elderly in Bhutan, most Bhutanese naturally help their neighbors and elders in need as an intrinsic part of Bhuddist culture. Roughly 80% of Bhutanese rely on subsistence farming for survival.
     
  
A Bhutanese actor painted as a demon stands next to the director on the set of Bachha, a drama and love story with Bolliwood-style dance sequences, directed by Tshering Wangyel, in Punakha, western Bhutan, August 5, 2007.  Though Bhutanese cinematographers made their first film as late as 1989, roughly 25 films were made in 2006, alone. As Bhutan tries to cater to its own citizens and shy away from being totally dependent on Indian cinema, its film industry is thriving.  Equipment is incredibly basic, and must all be imported from India, and actors and actresses are often forced to prepare their own make-up, but the Bhutanese audience is receptive to local cinema.
  
A Bhutanese family gets water from a community pump outside their home at dawn in Nimshong village in the Jigme Sigme National Park along the Black mountains in central Bhutan. There are no roads leading through the area, and inhabitants have no electricity, and no running water in their homes--there is often one water pump per several households.  The trail the Jigme Singye park was just opened up to foreigner visitors in 2006, and at the time of this hike, less than 100 foreigners had ever visited the area.  Villages are at least a three to six  hour walk from any road, and enjoy very little influence from the outside world.
  
A women washes her child and her sister's child in a pot on their porch in Kudra village in the Jigme Sigme National Park along the Black mountains in central Bhutan.  There are no roads leading through the area, and inhabitants have no electricity, and no running water in their homes--there is often one water pump per several households.  The trail the Jigme Singye park was just opened up to foreigner visitors in 2006, and at the time of this hike, less than 100 foreigners had ever visited the area.  Villages are at least a three to six  hour walk from any road, and enjoy very little influence from the outside world.
     
  
  
Three volunteer caretakers fill up traditional Bhuddist butterlamps during the morning offering at the Kurjey Lhakhang Kurjey Monastery in Jakar, in the province of Bhumthang, Bhutan, May 7, 2007.  Though almost all of Bhutan is Bhuddish, Bhumthang is considered the spiritual capital of the country.
  
Monks hang out in their bedroom inside the monastery in the Dzong in Wangdue Phodang, in western Bhutan, May 9, 2007.  Though Bhutan has traditionally been isolated from the outside world, a Coca-Cola fridge managed to make its way into monks' lives.  A Dzong can be found in most district capitals throughout Bhutan, and is the seat of secular and religious authority in each district--half administrative headquarters, half monastery.  Within the Monasteries that line the countryside throughout Bhutan, young monks are taught Bhuddist studies, manners, and basic home skills among their studies and prayers. traditionally in Bhutan, families used to send one child per family to the monastery, though now it is up to the individual family to decide whether they would like to send a child.
     
  
Three lay monks from eastern Bhutan rest in the Homing Ngayab Choling Zangtopelri Monastery, a private monastery, in Punakha, western Bhutan, May 10, 2007.  Lay monks are monks who are not necessarily monks for life, may leave the monastery and marry after some time.  Within the Monasteries that line the countryside throughout Bhutan, young monks are taught Bhuddist studies, manners, and basic home skills among their studies and prayers. traditionally in Bhutan, families used to send one child per family to the monastery, though now it is up to the individual family to decide whether they would like to send a child.
  
Monks line up for a discipinary session, in which older monks check younger monks' robes for cleanliness, as part of training at the monastery at the Paro Dzong in Paro, Bhutan, May 15, 2007.  Monasteries line the countryside throughout Bhutan, and young monks are taught Bhuddist studies, manners, and basic home skills among their studies and prayers. traditionally in Bhutan, families used to send one child per family to the monastery, though now it is up to the individual family to decide whether they would like to send a child.
  
Young Bhutanese hipsters dance at Space 34 nightclub in downtown Thimphu, Bhutan, July 26, 2007.  Since the Bhutanese government opened the country to cable TV in 1999, and started allowing more foreigners to enter Bhutan as tourists annually, Bhutanese have started being influenced on all levels of society by western culture, embracing the 'yuppie' lifestyle and western-style bars and discos.  Bhutan, closed to foreign visitors until 1974, is on the cusp of change from a very traditional, isolated country to being more influenced by the west and western values. Many young people in Bhutan have been sent abroad to India, Europe, and America for education, and return to Bhutan in their early twenties to work.
     
  
Bhutanese actress Rinzin choden, 21, from Bhumthang, does her makeup on the set of Bachha, a drama and love story with Bolliwood-style dance sequences, directed by Tshering Wangyel, in Punakha, western Bhutan, August 5, 2007.  Though Bhutanese cinematographers made their first film as late as 1989, roughly 25 films were made in 2006, alone. As Bhutan tries to cater to its own citizens and shy away from being totally dependent on Indian cinema, its film industry is thriving.  Equipment is incredibly basic, and must all be imported from India, and actors and actresses are often forced to prepare their own make-up, but the Bhutanese audience is receptive to local cinema.
  
Bhutanese women lounge in herbal baths in the traditional medicinal hospital in Thimphu, Bhutan, July 30, 2007. Bhutanese are very spiritual people, and often rely on traditional healers and herbs, rather than modern medicine, to treat illness, even though the government is pushing to provide modern medicinal facilities for all citizens.  These herbal baths have more than 30 herbs, and are often used for the treatment of piles, skin disease, arthritis, joint problems, among other problems.
  
Indian citizens of Nepalese origin wait for morning customers in a bar in Phuentsholing, South Bhutan near the Indian border, July 31, 2007.  In the early 1900's Bhutan encouraged Nepali migration to Bhutan, enabling Nepalese work opportunities in the country; as the Nepalese population grew, the Bhutanese elite and ruling class were overwhelmed by the numbers of foreigners, and began to enforce strict cultural assimilation laws, driving the Nepalese to protest and to be marginalized in society. The protests culminated in teh 1980's and 1990's, when eventually many Nepalese were kicked out of the country.  Today, ethnic Indians and Nepalese who are not Bhutanese citizens enjoy employment in building Bhutan's infrastructure, and small jobs as waiters or as daily laborers, but find it difficult to ascend to higher-paying jobs.
     
  
Indian citizens of Nepalese origin stand in front of the corregated shacks they stay in while working on the roads in Bhutan, a job traditionally reserved for Indians and non-Bhutanese citizens, in the village of Ganglakha, in South Bhutan near the Indian border, July 31, 2007.  In the early 1900's Bhutan encouraged Nepali migration to Bhutan, enabling Nepalese work opportunities in the country; as the Nepalese population grew, the Bhutanese elite and ruling class were overwhelmed by the numbers of foreigners, and began to enforce strict cultural assimilation laws, driving the Nepalese to protest and to be marginalized in society. The protests culminated in teh 1980's and 1990's, when eventually many Nepalese were kicked out of the country.  Today, ethnic Indians and Nepalese who are not Bhutanese citizens enjoy employment in building Bhutan's infrastructure.
  
Indian road workers travel to work from their temporary homes along the road between Paro and Thiimphu in West Bhutan, July 31, 2007.  Road building and manual labor are traditionally jobs reserved for Indians and non-Bhutanese citizens, as the Bhutanese deign to work in those fields. While the Bhutanese encourage ethnic Indians and Nepalese to come to Bhutan for work, they almost never grant citizenship--even to minorities who have lived for generations in Bhutan.
  
A Bhutanese woman of Nepalese origin sits sick with Dengue fever with her two sons in her home she inherited from the government as part of a resettlement program by the government to redistribute homes abandoned by ethnic Nepalese in the 90s, in Samtse, Bhutan, August 2, 2007. In the early 1900's Bhutan encouraged Nepali migration to Bhutan, enabling Nepalese work opportunities in the country; as the Nepalese population grew, the Bhutanese elite and ruling class were overwhelmed by the numbers of foreigners, and began to enforce strict cultural assimilation laws, driving the Nepalese to protest and to be marginalized in society. The protests culminated in teh 1980's and 1990's, when eventually many Nepalese were kicked out of the country, and their land was resettled to other Nepalese and Bhutanese families.  Today, ethnic Indians and Nepalese who are not Bhutanese citizens enjoy employment in building Bhutan's infrastructure, and small jobs as waiters or as daily laborers, but find it difficult to ascend to higher-paying jobs.
     
  
A woman walks through a forest to her relative's house in Rethung Gonpa village outside of Trashigang, in east Bhutan, August 8, 2007.  Nearly 75% of Bhutan is covered by protected national forest as part of the government's plan to promote the environment as one of the pillars of Gross National Happiness. Unlike most modern nations, who rely on Gross national Product as a measure of how well the country is doing by international standards, Bhutan relies on its philosophy of Gross National Happiness: sustainable development, environmental protection, cultural preservation, and good governance; Bhutan has tried to develop infrastructure without exploiting its natural resources (other than hydropower, sold to India as Bhutan’s main source of foreign funds).
  
Namgay Wangchuk, 19, from Punakha, stands in the courtyard of the Thimphu Dzong, where he is studying in Thimphu, Bhutan, April 21, 2007.  A Dzong can be found in most district capitals throughout Bhutan, and is the seat of secular and religious authority in each district--half administrative headquarters, half monastery.  Within the Monasteries that line the countryside throughout Bhutan, young monks are taught Bhuddist studies, manners, and basic home skills among their studies and prayers. traditionally in Bhutan, families used to send one child per family to the monastery, though now it is up to the individual family to decide whether they would like to send a child.