Third day in the countryside
Trip Start Jun 16, 2011
69Trip End Nov 10, 2011
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
I am now in Muang Sing, close to Luang Namtha so we didn't drive much today. We arrived in this guest house which is - I need to say this - 4 Km to to the Chinese border. We basically spent the afternoon walking in the surrounding villages and chilling with the villagers, finding shelter with them when the rain was too strong, sitting down to watch them work...
Work. I am going to be a bit tough here again but it's the feeling it leaves you with. Men work in the fields, keep the cattle and... that's about it. OK, I've seen quite many men carrying their babies on their backs. Women ? Women. They get up at 4 in the morning to go to the market and sell their stuff, as well as buy groceries. They come back to cook for the whole family, look after the smaller animals (men look after buffalos and cows, women look after pigs, ducks, geese, goats, chickens), look after the kids (who, at that stage pretty much look after themselves), get on their cotton craftwork : from the cotton they get in the fields to the finest embroidery, they do it all. Grannies are still working and working late. I would like to get them some goodies for their work : these things we use to put the thread in the needle easily (http://www.stecker.be/SHOP/contents/media/462enfile%20aiguilles.jpg) and/or some thimbles as well as some magnifying glasses that you can fix on tables... Clearly they won't stop working long hours, so they might as well do them in better conditions. Each woman can make about 6 euros a day. I know that's much more than in many other countries. But still, that's not much.
Back to women's work. Yeah, not over. They are going up in the mountain to get some wood. They help men during harvest. They do most of the food processing. Kids are also quite involved in the process. I simply wonder : when do they sleep ?
Cultures in Lao ? Well, rice, corn, pepper, coffee... But also teak wood (guys, they wait for 25 years for a teak tree to grow big enough to cut it... So you know how long you need to keep your teak wood garden table if you want to be sustainable-development-correct), cotton, tobacco. The country being mostly made of mountains, it's quite a challenge...
To finish with the day : a funny tradition in the Akha (I think) minority : they have tiny cabins within the village, called "young's houses"... They are meant for young and unmarried men and women to have sex, as much as they want, with only one rule : if the woman gets pregnant then they have to get married... Sounds like Versailles :-)