Saturday, September 10, 2011

Akha Hilltribe Water Project

{so this post is gonna have a lot of pictures. sorry.}
Friday we finally got to go up to where the Ban Lorcha (Akha) Hilltribe is. When we first got there we were given a little tour of some of the traditions of the tribe. Including a dance, a swing on the coming of age swing, and a demonstration from the blacksmith and one of the women making cloth. After that we hiked in the forest for a little bit up to the area where they were doing the project. This village had previously been hauling buckets through the thick forest to get water, so this project was to help them get the means they needed to make a dam and install pipes to bring the water supply down to the village. Through fundraising and donations HELP International was able to fund this project and by doing so we were able to give a village of around 500 people access to water. Some of helped carry bags of sand up to the area where they were making cement. They mixed the sand with cement and water and then combined that mixture with rocks to make a dam. To finish the dam they even rerouted the river for the time being. The people of the village came out to help. They knew what they were doing, and knew what they had wanted for a long time, but they just needed funds to accomplish it. We helped some but mostly we were just there observing the progress, which really is what this is about. Not doing it for them but helping them just enough so that they can do it themselves. It was a great project to finish right at the end- quick, successful, and actually HELPful. 
one of the "doorways" into the village. it's bad luck for the tribe if an outsider touches the frame. 

Todd trying on one of the headdresses

next to the don't even want to know

some of the tribeswomen in traditional clothing showing us one of their dances


Courtney on the swing that they use for tourists. Every year they have a ceremony where girls swing on one of these as a right of passage/coming of age type thing, and afterwards they become women and are allowed to wear clothes the women wear.
making cloth

Mitch on the way to take the pipes up.

they make bags/jewelry/souvenirs to help bring in money

lunch: minced basil pork, and some other strange dishes that were not so my favorite...they also served us this awful bitter herbal tea, but i did drink more than half of it. and they tried giving us wiskey that looked like water in a coke bottle hahaha, in the middle of the day...
mitch, dave, and courtney

Todd and some of the men we were giving a ride to up to the project area 

Todd and Courtney's matching pink toenails with stars...Todd wasn't asleep when they were painted, nor did he loose any form of a bet.

walking up to the dam

the women carried these baskets on their backs so it would be easier to haul the bags of sand up the mountain, some of them even put the straps around their head.
dave carrying sand

dam in progress...

digging so they can reroute the river to this area

Dave and Hudson carrying pipes

building the dam with cement and rocks

rerouting the river

todd, mitch, eve, courtney

the group: courtney, hudson, dave, me, todd, aubrey, and mitch

me, todd, mitch, courtney, eve, and annie

aubrey, me, dave, tribes woman, annie

i love his little flower hat. what an adorable man.

todd and i

me and aubrey washing rocks for the dam

todd almost fell to his death minutes before this picture was taken. life is slippery slope kids. literally.

taken by courtney
also taken by courtney