Sunday, June 20, 2010

030107 Ban Mae Ter - 04

Staying with YK's field studies project host in the grandest Akha home the cat has ever stepped into...

Just nice for 4 girls:


Guys banished to the living area:


Portraits of Chakri kings on front door:


The late Princess Mother at upper right:


Thai Akha calendar:


The three Akha subgroups in Thailand - [L-R] Lomi, Ulo & Phamee:


Easiest to distinguish by the design of the adult women's headdress - large silver spheres for Lomi, conical with 'yehji yehseh' (long tassels of fluffed up chicken feathers dyed red) hanging from the sides & top end (only from the back for Lomi) for Ulo, & large 'flaps' on both sides sloping down past the ears for Phamee. There are simpler headdress designs for girls. Men also wear much plainer headgear, although the guys of the Puli subgroup (referred to as 'Bakwo' by Jim Goodman) in northwestern Laos wear a rather huge decorated turban.

According to legend the Akha once had an alphabet, but it was written down on buffalo skin that they ate up when they ran out of food, hence the lack of a writing system for Akha. A system for writing Akha using Roman letters was developed by the American Baptist missionary Paul Lewis for the purpose of translating the new testament & other Christian literature into Akha, although the one used in this calendar seems different. Here tones are indicated by the final letter of each syllable, similar to the RPA (Romanised Popular Alphabet) writing system that the cat's White Hmong friends use to write Hmong language in Laos, just that different alphabets are used to represent the various tones (f/l/m/q for Akha, b/d/j/m/v/etc for Hmong).

The making of dinner - photos by the other HY:


Sunset from the outdoor dining area/balcony:


Dinner under the stars:


After dinner, the Ban Apa alumni walked around expecting to find villagers gathered around small bonfires outside their homes - the typical cold season post-dinner activity in Ban Apa where villagers share firewood, warmth & conversation - but in this village everything was silent & empty...

Except for an old couple, whose smouldering remains of a bonfire we hijacked:

Photo by the other HY

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