Akha woman weaving, BNG
The woman of the house shown in Picture 3, sitting underneath the house weaving.
This village at the time grew its own cotton, which was spun with a hand spindle (Picture 6), woven on a simple loom, and dyed before making it into their very distinct traditional costume.
I asked, via my guide for the name of the lady (Mrs Boudzou ) Initially I got no answer, then she said something we couldn't understand. I first interpreted it as "Ajo", and repeated that to confirm, but she didn't respond to my question. After some more confusion, her younger daughter came forward, and pronounced her mother's name was Chito. I later understood it is not apprpriate for an Akha woman (or anyone Akha?) to give their name themselves to an outsider. But it was quite OK for her daughter to give pronounce her mothers name. From then on, I would while taking portraits always ask one of the bystanders to speak the name of the subject into my taperecorder.However, when I returned two months later with a tape recorder, and verified the names of the people I photographed, her name was given to me by the village headman as "Boudzou" My assumption at present is that maybe Chito is the family name, and Boudzou her 'first' name. (or vice versa)
Mrs Boudzou lived with her family in a house next to the tourist accomodation in BNG. On my first visit to the village, I had in the early morning photographed her daughters winding cotton thread on a large frame, ready to be put on the loom. I had on this visit given them some of these photographs back. In the afternoon of my second day at BNG, I approached Ms Boudzou and asked her if I could photograph her working at her loom. It was set up underneath the house, with a very long warp, stretching almost the length of the house. Later, I asked and obtained permission to take some photographs of the interior of her house.
© Kees Sprengers - Ethnic Diversity in Luang Namtha - Laos