Where the cat stays in Ban Apa. Photos from first visit in December 2004 & third visit in 2007.
Every household has a bamboo fence around the compound. The gate is opened & closed by sliding the horizontal bamboo poles through holes in the 3 vertical poles (2 on left of gate, 1 on right):
The only times the cat has ever seen anyone close their gates was the night all of us hid in our homes when a villager went on a drunken rampage, & once when the buseh's household was trying to round up all their piglets.
Right outside the gate is one of the 3-4 spots along the road in this half of the village where residents gather around the fire to chat + keep warm in the early morning & after dinner every day. After the humans vacate the outdoor fireplaces, puppies will huddle around to soak up the warmth & are often found sleeping there.
Traditional Akha house built raised above sloping ground:
Pillars + floor = wood, walls = split bamboo, roof = imperata grass tied to bamboo:
On the left of the above photo, the balcony with split bamboo flooring:
This village has running water :) Generous overhang from low roof = a lot of welcome shade. Wooden stool is turned on its side when not in use by humans, so as not to invite spirits to use it - they're supposed to stay in the forest & keep out of the village area beyond the boundary marked by the front & back spirit gates.
Balcony is where we did the dishes + laundry. Leftover food that doesn't get gobbled up by the dogs (who love to lick our plates clean) goes into slops for pigs, while YK serves the chickens the smaller bits like grains of rice:
Grains that fall on the floor within the house are pushed through the gaps between the floorboards to the chickens waiting below. Water from washing + laundry flows down the slope towards the back of the house compound & eventually into the gully that divides the old & new halves of the village.
Within the compound will be the household's rice spirit shrine, where offerings are made to the rice spirit before the rice storage 'hut' can be opened:
[L-R] Toilet + shower, rice storage barn & pig pen at the back of the house:
Almost every household in this village has their own toilet (complete with ceramic squatter) + shower in an outhouse:
In 2007, a plastic showerhead attachment added:
For the few households that don't have their own outhouses, there are 2 in the middle of the older half of the village for common use.