• Small, mountainous country
• Traditional agricultural lifestyle
• Social, medical, and environmental difficulties
Bhutan is a tiny, mountainous country nestled between India and Tibet. Its people
practice Buddhism and live a very traditional lifestyle. Most people farm and live in
small villages. In an effort to preserve the country’s traditional characteristics, the
Bhutanese government allows relatively few tourists to enter the country each year.
The Bhutanese people have a low life expectancy, a high rate of infant mortality,
and high levels of infectious disease. In recent years, however, Bhutan has made
significant advances in longevity and curtailing disease: for example, life
expectancy has gone up nearly 12 years in the past decade alone, and increased
access to safe water and sanitation has reduced the spread of infection-based
illnesses. Government programs have made plastic pipe available for bringing water
from unpolluted sources to people’s homes and have also mandated the use of pit
latrines in place of “going bush.” Bhutan still has to deal with environmental
degradation that has resulted from large livestock herds that overgraze, as well as a
rising demand for wood to be used for fuel.
The following slides present a photograph of the Namgay family and their home in
the small village of Shinka, Bhutan.