Friday, January 15, 2010
Village life among the hill tribe people of Thailand and Lao is simple. The homes are basic - built on stilts and made mostly of bamboo with thatched roofs. The wealthier villagers might have a home made of concrete or cinder block. They sleep on hard platforms; survive on what they can grow, raise or gather. Paved roads are virtually nonexistent; running water sporadic. The people are desperately poor. And yet, it's not the "untouched" version of life we might idealize; however remote and rustic a village might be, they are not immune to outside influence. Shiny new motorcycles zip over the dirt paths, and nearly every village sports a huge satellite dish. The children mostly wear Western-style clothes, in various stages of tatter (rags that are immediately shed, we quickly learned, as soon as the visitors to the village begin their retreat).