Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The World's Future or Attack of the Six-Year Olds

We visit a rural village and school

Today was a working day for our OAT Tour group. At dawn we bought fruit and vegetables in the market (see post "Alms-Giving"). Then we traveled to the rural village of Tin Cheo, met the village chief and his assistant, and set off to start work.

First, Recycle Bomb Casings

One OAT member stokes the fire to heat the bomb-casing metal being made into a knife.

Recycling is good, isn't it....


Second, Test Traps for Catching Rats

Next we tested the intricate traps made for catching rats. This consisted of sticking a finger into the trap and getting snared. The villagers cracked up when we screamed and jumped in surprise.Asked what one did with the rats after catching them, they answered, "Eat". 

Village House

Teek Plantation

Lowland Lao and Hmong

This village consists of two ethnic groups; the lowland Lao (Lao Loum) and the Hmong. They live together peacefully.
The Lowland Lao are the dominant group in Laos, about 50% of the population. They live a self-sufficient lifestyle, growing rice, corn or other crops and keeping vegetable gardens, chickens and pigs. 
The Hmong people are an ethnic group believed to have come frmo China.  They have maintained their own language, customs, and ways of life while adopting the ways of the country in which they live. In the 1960s and 1970s many Hmong were secretly recruited by the U.S. CIA to fight against communism during the Vietnam War.


Two Hmong brothers in traditional dress telling us (through Mana, our Lao guide) about their  culture. 
 The younger brother (in black) played the Qeej, a reed pipe, where each note corresponds to a Hmong word. He also danced and did acrobatic movements while playing. To the Hmong it is an instrument that communicates with the spirit world. He played a blessing for us and it was beautiful and spiritual. My camera battery had no juice, so I  imported an image from the internet to show you the Qeej.

The brother's grandmother (L) is the village Shaman

How much dirt does one need to eat during one's lifetime? This little boy is on the fast track.

The Village School

We saw them, in a line in front of the school. To be introduced to us, I thought. Quietly, with some bowing I thought. But, as if a start's pistol had gone off,  in a explosion of energy, they ran toward us. I froze and turned sideways to made myself smaller, so as not to be trampled. A little boy (Pi) reached up with a flower necklace, I bent over so he could drape it around my neck and then he grabbed my hand and pulled me into the school. These kids were practiced--they had us all necklaced and into school in about 30 secs.

After we got inside, one of the OAT Tour members taught us  "Eyes, Ears, Nose, Mouth". After teaching us the words, he rapidly quizzed us. I forgot to video this, as I was having a hard time keeping up!

Then three brave women (moi and two other OAT stars) organized the Hokey-Pokey. These kids cheated; they already knew the song.

Pi's friend looking into my camera sitting on the table

The school at Tin Keo village is supported in part by Grand Circle Foundation--part of the World Classroom initiative.

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