In the Golden Triangle region, where Myanmar borders on Laos and Thailand, there are
a large number of hill tribes that have resisted assimilation with the rest of the country.
A police permit is needed for hiking into some of the villages.
The housing in the villages is primitive.
Each tribe has its distinctive dress and even language. My guide seemed to know people in
every village. It took almost two hours of hiking to get to this village.
A previous client who had been taken to this village left ten dollars with the guide to buy
medicines for the children. I contributed some more and we went by a drug store in
town before departing. A little money buys a lot of medicine in Myanmar. These two
kindergarten teachers were delighted to receive the drugs. I asked the guide why he
had not brought any medicine for the elementary school children. He said it was not
necessary because by the time the children are that old, they are strong enough to
survive an illness.
Caught on Camera
The boys were fascinated to see their pictures on the digital camera.
The headdress tells her tribe. It costs a considerable amount of money by village standards
and will be handed down in the family. But it seems that the younger girls in the tribes are
more interested in contemporary dress. Their mothers may be the last generation to dress
Dental Health Promotion
Thinking it inappropriate to give the children candy, I brought several dozen toothbrushes to
distribute. The kids are showing their approval.
This woman said that she was one hundred years old and had no living relatives in the
village. She said that she lived off of the kindness of her neighbors.
Just like the hill folk in West Virginia, every village has a still. The alcohol is made from
either sour corn mash or fermented rice and molasses. After the alcohol is distilled off,
what remains is fed to the pigs. Happy pigs. The always hospitable Burmese never
fail to invite a traveler in for a drink. It tasted just like moonshine.
There are a surprisingly large number of Christians in Myanmar. In fact one village had
three districts, one of Buddhists, one of animists, and one of Christians. They all
seemed to get along fine, and had done so for generations.