August 15, 2010

House interior v.2004

All photos from December 2004 visit.

Entering the house - the front half takes up most of this photo:


Drinking water is stored in the white bottles (with brand names like Castrol, Caltex & Shell) at bottom right (above). Back half of the house is partitioned by the only internal wall into the men's & women's sleeping areas. Men's sleeping area (at left of above photo), with the partition on the right:


The partition stems from this story about a tiger/spirit creature who ate up her first Akha husband. To protect her second husband she asked him to divide their house with a wall, & they slept on their respective sides until she eventually became a human.

Women's sleeping area - young/baby boys allowed but otherwise out of bounds to men:


Amount of space to spare on the men's/women's side + gender of guests has to be considered when deciding whether to accommodate guests, although with so many young people leaving the village to seek work & education elsewhere it usually isn't a problem. Newer blue mosquito net + matching piece of blue lino + newer blankets for the guests (i.e. YK & the cat). Somewhere on the right is the other door - seems that this door on the women's side is used only once a year during a ritual where boys run in through the door on the men's side (the main door that everyone uses) & out through the door on the women's side to chase any spirits out of the house.

The sleeping areas have very comfy & relatively soft split bamboo flooring, unlike the hard wooden planks of the common area:


Apart from the shelves in the common area, zero furniture in the house - everything is tied up in sacks, stashed in baskets, or hung from the walls + roof. View of common area from the women's sleeping area:


The men's & women's halves each have a hearth, but only rice is steamed on the women's side at 4AM every morning, & all the rest of the cooking is done on the men's side. Everyone eats in the common area on the men's side, in front of the TV.

Here is a 360 degree panorama of Atee's former house for comparison.

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