A few years
ago, we visited a hill tribe village just outside of Chiang Khong in Northern Thailand on the Mekong River bordering Laos.
We marked the location on our GPS and
wanted to return. On our previous visit, Billy took many
photos of the locals there.
intent to come back to this same village and show them, via our
computer, the photos of their village and its people from
the years' past.
At 55, we are
still spry enough to hop rides in the back of pick up trucks
going in our direction.
Off to the
This is a
typical village wooden hut or house. Although there is now
running water available to the village, most homes will not have
inside plumbing. The top of the roof is changed each year and is
made from palm tree fronds attached to a Bamboo stick which they
overlap to create a seamless type of roof covering. The walls
are thatched also, but from wider bamboo tubes which
are cut and flattened out.
flower pot out front which adorns the entranceway. Very
people are generally quite friendly and open. Here, the woman
was roasting a sort of seed or local nut in the fire in
front of her. She would poke around for the shells and munch
them straight from the fire.
The fencing is made from split bamboo.
When we walk
through villages such as this one, and meet the villagers
themselves, it brings to mind how 'stuff' doesn't make us happy.
Relationships, community and health seem far more important.
clothing has typically replaced their tribal costumes. This man
was pleased to pose for us to take his photo.
are called such because their homes are built up into the hills!
The jungle creeps back into any area they have cleared in
building their huts, weighing heavily on fencing.
tree on the left there is budding with a dozen green mangos. On
the front porch you will see two flags. The yellow one
represents the Kingdom of Thailand, yellow being the King's
color. The red, white and blue flag is for the country of
Thailand. The Thais are very proud of their country.
question for you: Do you think these people are concerned about
their financial portfolios?
This is Phun
and his wife who are from Laos. Fairly new to the village, they
were not there when we first came to visit 5 years ago. Phun
spoke English and was eager to invite us into their front living
He opened up
the bamboo fencing and his wife cleared off the bamboo
matting for us to sit, and quickly gave us cold glasses of water!
We asked if
they had electricity, and when they produced an extension cord
we then showed them the photos from the years' previous visit.
They recognized many of the people in the pictures and were both amazed
family just up the road waved to us and invited us into their
'front room'. Eager to see the photos, they, too, produced
an extension cord and we proceeded to show them pictures of
bamboo wall weaving behind the family. This gives you a good
look at how the walls of their homes are made.
man (in the red shirt), father to the young boy in front, was eager to join in on
the fun. The little boy was immensely curious about our digital
camera and the computer's buttons. You could see lots of
intelligence in these people's eyes.
This is the
view from the family's hut. It looks out over a good
portion of the village.
typical hut built lower to the ground. Bamboo is used for
'everything,' since it is prolific. Actually a woody grass and
not a tree, bamboo will mature in 3-5 years after planting.
elder is making the roof thatching I spoke about earlier. She
will sell it in town, or to neighbors or barter for something she
or her family needs. We asked about electricity here, but she is
pointing to across the road.
finally a larger scale audience. This is the sundry store in the
village. It sells ice cream, milk, batteries and other
necessities. There is a small bank of computers in the back to
the right, and a color television for watching futbol and other
sports just behind Billy.
Billy is just
setting up the computer here now. Interest gathers!
pointing to a photo on the computer recognizes her father! She
is the shop owner.
People gather 'round for the free entertainment.
shop owner an isn't as shy as some of the other locals. She is
pointing out some of the other neighbors she also recognizes.
This is one
of the photos from 5 years past. It was a Sunday, and the women
prepared a full luncheon for the kids. Notice the young boy in
front with the tan elephant tee shirt on and his hands in loose
shows him the photo of him when he was 5 years younger. (The
young boy with the tan elephant tee shirt) Chances are good that
he has never seen a photo of himself as a child before.
continues to gather inside the store as everyone wants to see
people they knew or perhaps catch themselves in the photo
very pleased with the show! Again, notice that western clothing
has replaced the colorful hill tribe costumes they used to wear.
another truck ride back into town. We are staying in an
ancient Thai teak home on the Mekong River between Chiang Khong
and the Laotian border. There are lovely river views and the
life is strikingly peaceful.