Part of what makes Bhutan so special is the deliberately slow pace of change. Traditions are valued and continued, and all the people still wear traditional dress.
We only saw a little western clothing worn by young people in the main city Thimphu, and then not until darkness had fallen. The creative occupations are taught, and employment is found for paper makers, artists, sculptors, gilders, weavers. Beautiful buildings are maintained, and the housing style must fit in with what already exists.
Yet technology to enhance life is introduced and made available to everyone, no matter how remote they are. Mini-hydro schemes supply electricity to most towns. Our guide’s home had a small solar panel that generated enough power to charge the mobile phone and provide lighting, but when that was not working his wife had a very long walk on precipitous mountain roads into town.
So although most people live in traditional ways we did not see any poverty, we did see smiling faces, warm community, and the richness of simplicity.
“Simplicity of life comes with inner richness, with inward freedom from craving, with freedom from acquisitiveness, from addiction, from distraction. From this simple life there comes that necessary one-pointedness which is .. the outcome of …. awareness and meditative understanding. Simple life is not the result of outward circumstances; contentment with little comes with the riches of inward understanding.” Krishnamurti
… or as Gandhi said “Live simply, so others may simply live.”