March 01, 2012

27-290112 Ban Maejantai - 02

Random pics from around the village...

Water filtration system by Engineers Without Borders USA's California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo student chapter:


Small world - the cat has passed through San Luis Obispo before. A source of clean water makes a huge difference. Especially for women & girls, who bear the responsibility of fetching water & collecting & carrying firewood down from the mountains for boiling water to make it potable. The Coffee Journey participants drank from this system with no problems.

Many hilltribe villages in the upper north of Thailand have at least one signboard bearing the name of some foreign aid organisation or missionary group. Ban Maejantai was no exception:


Roughly translates as...
"Akha youth Powerful mind
Strong body Free from pollution
Done by TEAR Australia (a Christian organisation) & the Akha Kinship & Holistic Alternatives Foundation (or AKHA Foundation, a Thai NGO)"

Leaving the cat none the wiser as to what it is about...

Not that there were many youths around. Like in rural villages across north & northeast Thailand, most have left to study or work elsewhere in Thailand or overseas. Like the Akha in Mae Salong, proximity to a Chinese village means that some in Ban Maejantai have picked up spoken Mandarin, leading to better-paying job opportunities in Taiwan. Left behind in the villages are the very young & the very old. Likewise for villages in the areas of Laos bordering Thailand - more than 90% of those aged 15-35 in a friend's village in rural Savannakhet are working (mostly illegally) in Thailand.

Next to Mimi's house - we thought it was a kindergarten:


Mimi mentioned about a teacher from elsewhere who stays here on weekdays, & that only 4-5 kids from the village come here. The signs around this building say something about a Mae Fah Luang study centre (for) community (of) upland Thai people, & ชมรมศึกษาพัฒนาชาวไทยภูเขา มหาวิทยาลัยรามคำแหง Ramkhamhaeng University's society for education & development (of) upland Thai people:


The cat usually hears hilltribe people referred to as ชาวเขา chao khao (hill people) or ชาวดอย chao doi (mountain people). On these signboards the term ชาวไทยภูเขา chao thai phu khao (Thai people (of the) hills/mountains) was used instead. Has been 26+ years since the cat first met hilltribe people in Thailand, perhaps the perception of them as outsiders (i.e. non-Thai) in the eyes of the lowlanders really is starting to change?

The temple at the top of the village:


Only sign of a monk ever having been here was an old forgotten angsa (vest that covers only the left shoulder) hanging near some bushes.

Doing the dishes on the balcony:


The black netting in front of her house provides shade for the coffee seedlings beneath:


The chicks that jumped into the feed container:


Hanging outside Api's house:


Mimi's house had an identical pair of wings hanging near the stairs to the kitchen.

Saddest looking puppy:


Didn't ask if anyone in this village eats dog.

27-290112 Ban Maejantai - 01

Ban Maejantai - Moobaan 25, Tambon Tha Kor, Amphoe Mae Suay, Chiangrai province:


25 might be the largest หมู่บ้าน moobaan (administrative village) number the cat has come across to date - it usually sees numbers smaller than 15. At 30+ households, Ban Maejantai is slightly smaller than Ban Apa (40+ households). With a population smaller than the minimum required (500 people?) for moobaan status, it is lumped together with a neighbouring village to form Mooban 25.

No lack of slopes in an Akha village:


Ban Maejantai from the porch of Mimi's house near the bottom of the village:


View from the top of the village just below the temple:


Ming Lang village in the distance (centre) - a steep climb to & from school for the kids:


Contour ploughing at bottom right - there are small tea farms around Ming Lang village:


Most households have switched from the traditional imperata grass roof to corrugated zinc:


Something not seen in the Akha villages in non-coffee growing regions like Mae Salong, Mae Yao & northern Laos - large bamboo platforms for drying coffee beans:


One of the two houses that hosted some of the guys on this Journey:


It was also one of the two houses where the cat spotted beehives fashioned from sections of large tree trunks. Wonder if the villagers carry the hives to their fields?


Mattress delivery?


House (with a little shop) that hosted some of the ladies on this Journey:


Compare this with the same view in December 2007/January 2008: