Former volunteers Alan and Joan Reader, and Spencer and Julie Nicholls remember Rinzin Norbu, a “very caring man who did a fine job of looking after all of us who spent time in Bhutan”, Alan says.

Rinzin Norbu ed

From left: Roy Whittington, Craig Nicholson, Rinzin Norbu, Joan Reader and Alan Reader in March 2003, soon after the new volunteers' arrival.

Many of you will be saddened to hear of the death of Rinzin Norbu on 17 March 2017 in Thimphu, Bhutan. Rinzin was the VSA administrator in Bhutan until VSA’s withdrawal in April 2010 when VSA's last volunteer there, Nikola Sandbrook, completed her assignment.

With his contacts and knowledge of government procedures he was a huge help to all of us volunteers. As well as looking after us he arranged visas for friends and visitors. Rinzin's pastoral care of us was superb. He often lent us his HiLux for trips to other parts of the country and arranged all the necessary travel passes as well.

When we visited in 2013 we were shocked and saddened to discover that he was unwell, had been in hospital a number of times and was too sick to work. Fortunately medical treatment is free in Bhutan. Over the past few years he has been in and out of hospital quite frequently, but whenever we spoke to him on Skype he was always hopeful of returning to good health and to work too.

As a result of his illness his family had to rely on his wife’s income as a teacher and when his children did not qualify for free education after year 10 he had to find money to pay for their schooling at a private institution in Paro. It was then that many of us contributed to a fund set up to help him pay the school fees. His children have since passed their years 11 and 12 exams.