|Akha village above Muong SIngh, Laos|
|jungle setting of a a typical Akha village in Laos|
|Akha women near Muong SIngh|
As I did in China, I would wear one of my Akha jackets and shoulder bags when I went to visit the Lao Akha and hope it won’t be like in China, where I was practically the only one in the Akha village wearing any Akha clothing. I prepared a bigger set of photographs to show them, especially examples of the different Akha headdresses. I also decided to take a Dictaphone with me and mini-cassette recordings of Akha songs at the dèhâw—the meeting ground for young people in the evenings—and mournful ballads sung by elderly women at the festivals. That decision was to have the most effect on the nature of my adventures in Lao Akha territory.
|Bukwo Akha woman|
Next morning, rising early, dressed in an Akha jacket and shoulder bag, carrying a camera, Dictaphone and several dozen photos from the world of Thailand’s Akha, I headed for the morning market. The area was already swarming with hill people and local Lao by sunrise. The Akha were the most numerous and to my delight virtually all of them were dressed in traditional garments; not just the older women, but the youth, the children and even the few men among them.
|the Akha shoulder board|
|Akha woman in Muong Singh|
|rice storage outside the village|
|traditional festival swings|
|girls in the mountain village|
|young Akha man in the market|
|traditional Akha house|
|Akha woman weaving beside her house|
|girls demonstrating their spinning skills|
|hornbill trophy in the house of my host|