Sunday, April 29, 2012

Photos by mountain dwellers | Look At Vietnam

Photos by mountain dwellers

April 29, 2012
LookAtVietnam – Fifty ethnic minority people from many provinces in Vietnam have been trained to become amateur photographers, under a photovoice project, part of the “Our Culture” project, organized by the Institute for Studies of Society Economy and Environment (iSEE).
Their works were displayed at Hanoi’s Ly Thai To flower garden last
week. VietNamNet introduces some pictures, which are also stories about
the daily life and culture of ethnic minority groups in Vietnam.

Prior to an important event in daily life, such as building a new house, selecting a
location to build house, doing business, going hunting or in marriage,
Pa Ko people often see chicken’s leg.

Before looking at the chicken’s leg, right after the chicken is stuck,
the host has to pray related gods on what he wants to see.

The chicken’s leg has 4 toes, each represents one sacred thing.
The big toe shows god or bad luck. The index toe represents us. The middle
 toe is the protection and support god (Giàng Ka niéq), normally the god of mountain
 (Giàng Koh). The little toe represents the people having business with us or bad luck.

In the photo: Mr. Vo Hua, 87 years old, Ta Rut 1 village.
(by Ho Thi Bui, Pa Co ethnic group, Quang Trị Province)

Ho Thi Huong – 17 years old and Ho Thi Hem – 17 years old in Ta Rut 1 village,
Ta Rut commune. The two girls live in the same village. After school time,
they go to the field to help their mother with clearing grasses.

The photo was taken on their way to the field.
(by Ho Thi Bui, Pa Co ethnic group, Quang Trị Province)

In the past, while going flirting (Ä‘i sim), people should know “questioning and answering
through a bamboo flute.” Since this game requires one man playing with one woman,
whoever does not know the game would be left alone. If the woman asks then the man
should answer and vice versa. When one person asks, the other should blow in to the pole
so that the answer can be heard clearer. Thanks to the game, many people have found their better halves.

He is Ho Van Re, 74 years old. She is Ho Thi Ra Bai, 65 years old.
Both live in A Rong village, Krongklang town.

(by Ho Van Di, Van Kieu ethnic group, Quang Trị)

For Van Kieu people, after delivery, the mother takes a bitter medicine (đợ tăng) to push dirty
blood inside the body out, making the uterus shrink and help her recover soon. If there is a pregnant
woman in the family, her mother, mother in law, aunts, sisters and sisters in law will collect đợ tăng,
dry and store it carefully and boil it as water for the woman to drink after her delivery.
Ms. Ho Thi Vuong, 22 years old, A Rong village, Krongklang town is drinking
bitter medicine prepared by her mother.

(by Ho Thi Nguyet, Van Kieu ethnic group, Quaang Trị)

In this photo, the bride is being escorted to the groom’s house.
In the past, Van Kieu people used to get married in their village or in locality, therefore,
people mainly walked while escorting the bride to the groom’s house. In case they got married
 far away, means of transportation and the roads were not convenient then. Nowadays, things
have been changing a lot. Marriage is not only between Van Kieu themselves, but with other
 ethnic groups living far away from each other. Therefore, on the wedding day, people hire a
 bus to carry the delegates.

(by Ho Thi Nguyet, Van Kieu ethnic group, Quaang Trị)

Ms. Gia Te, 70 years old is leading her daughter-in-law Ho Thi Pha, 19 years old in Vuc Leng village,
Ta Rut commune to the Pi Ray stream in front of their house to catch fish. After the first meal
 after the wedding, Pa Ko mother in law takes her daughter-in-law to the stream to catch fish.
Catching fish is to see whether the daughter-in-law is gentle, well taught or not, hardworking
or lazy. The judgment depends on the fish she catches.  

(Ho Thi Ro, Pa Co ethnic group, Quaang Trị)

Normally, a coffin is carried out of the house through the side door (the window beside the house)
not the main door with stairs since this is the way alive people go. According to Muong’s tradition,
they do not carry coffin through main window since only mandarins’ family members can be
carried through this window.
The coffin is tied and carried by two bamboo trunks.
No matter how far the buried place is, the coffin must be carried there. Strong men
who are relatives of the family carry the coffin.

(by Nguyen Van Thuy, Muong ethnic group, Thanh Hoa)

H’mong people in Ta Phin go to bath in a pool with natural hot water in Tan Yen,
Than Uyen. People with itching or scabies will recover if they bath here. Therefore,
many people come here to bath and it is free of charge.

(by Giang A Cua, H’mong ethnic group, Lao Cai)

Mr. Cua cures his daughter’s headache by putting burning coals into a buffalo’s horn
then putting the horn on the girl’s forehead for about 20 minutes. This treatment
cures faster than taking medicine.

(by Thao Thi Sung, H’mong ethnic group, Lao Cai)

“After the body of the dead is burnt, the bones will be raked and pour water to
cool down. The person in charge of burning the body (acha đất k’môi) will rearrange
the bones into a body shape and use a white cloth to cover the head. After rearranging,
 he will ask everyone 3 times: “Does it resemble?” After the third time the question is raised;
everyone answers “Yes, it does,” then they start collect the bones.

(by La Thuong, Khmer in Soc Trang province)

I took this photo of Quang, 13 years old, while he was helping his parents harvest
the crop. After harvesting, he went catching paddy mice. If he can dig plenty of mice,
he sells them; otherwise, he brings back home as food. Adults normally go in a group
of 2 to 3 and use long sticks. They can only catch mice in harvested fields because
people do not allow them to dig in harvesting ones. Whenever they catch  mice, they have
to circle them around to make them dizzy so that they cannot bite.

Mice meat is very delicious, very good to serve with wine, even better than chicken.
It is very tasty. They can be roasted, or stir fried with lemon grass and chili, or
mixed with coconut milk or stir fried with onion – all are delicious.

(Tran Thi Huynh Mai, Khmer in Soc Trang province)

This is a photo of Mr. Vo Vay, 80 years old who is the best rattan weaver in
the village. He is weaving a fish basket. Firstly, he has to come into the forest
 to cut rattan. He must select old, straight and tall rattan tree to bring back, splitting them
then weave. It takes a day to weave a fish basket which he can sell for 100,000 – 150,000 VND.

Pako men all know fishing so everyone has a fish basket. We catch fish both day and night
but we can catch more fish during night time since at that time fish usually gather in one place.

(by Ho Van Nam, Pa Co ethnic group, Quang Tri)

Ms. Ha Thi Ra Bai, 64, Khe Song, Krongklang town, is dyeing her teeth. She explains
that she dyes her teeth in black everyday before bed time. There are a few herbs used to
dye teeth; therefore, if one is used to dye this night, then the other night another will be
used to create black shining for the teeth.  

(by Ho Van Di, Van Kieu ethnic group, Quang Trị)

When a family in the village builds their house, the whole village will come to help for free.
When the other families build their houses, they will come to help in return. This is a popular
tradition of Thai people. Not only in building houses, people help each other in many other
occasions such as plowing, wedding, funerals, etc. I took this photo to introduce Thai living style -
 always helping each other and living in harmony. Not only Thai men, Thai women know to make the roof also.

(Bui Tuan Vu, Thaai ethnic group, Thanh Hoa)

Ho Van Ya, a Plong (a person who blows and whispers prayers to cure diseases), is treating
Ho Van Bin. Bin broke his arms and had a trauma in his head due to a motorbike accident.
Bin came to hospital for first aid and had his arm bound. After leaving the hospital, Bin brings
a bottle of wine to Plong to blow for faster recovery. Bru Van Kieu people believe that Plong can
 cure many diseases such as broken bone or pains. After recovering, the patients
will bring 2 chickens to thank the Plong.

(by Ho Van Tam (elder), Van Kieu ethnic group, Quaang Trị)
Photos and captions provided by iSEE
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