Often seen as a magical paradise at the end of the world, Bhutan is inaccessible to most travellers. Set against the dramatic scenery of the Himalaya, this beguiling memoir recalls hardships and happiness in a land almost untouched by the West.
When Britta Das goes to work as a physiotherapist in a remote village hospital, her good intentions are put to the test amid monsoons, fleas, and startling conditions. But as she visits homes in the mountains and learns the mysteries of Tantric Buddhism, the country captivates her very soul. Gaining insights into the traditions of the mystical kingdom, Britta makes friends, falls in love, and battles illness.
Throughout it all, as she writes, she worries about the "destructive nearness of technology" and fears that Bhutan’s charm and innocence may soon be lost. Still, Bhutan has endured for centuries, and there is no denying that the country has transformed her life forever.
Buttertea at Sunrise: A Year in the Bhutan Himalaya, Britta Das, Dundurn, Paperback, 221 pp., $24.99
Britta Das went to work in Bhutan as a physiotherapist under the auspices of VSO, the British aid organization. Buttertea at Sunrise, her first book, has been published in Britain, India, Germany, and Holland. Born in Germany, Britta now lives in Toronto, where she continues to work as a physiotherapist.