Celebration of the building of a new house
On my second visit to Ban Nammat Gao, I went alone with two guides from the Tourist office. Later that afternoon, we were invited to a 'housewarming party' to celebrate the newly erected house for Mr Arger and his wife Mrs Booshop (spelling by my guide, Mr Jeua). The party went on for about 20 hrs, these photographs and many of the portraits were taken the next morning, after breakfast.
The evening celebration I didn't take photographs, since only a flash would have given any results, and I didn't think that was appropriate under the circumstances.
A famous Akha singer came walking with some companions from Muang Sing, to sing at the celebration. Before he could start however, it was explained to me that he who comes from the furthest away has to be the first one to sing. So this Dutch born New Zealander gave a somewhat rusty performance of a maori song. The fact that I didn't know all the words and made them up seemed to cause no offense. The last memory of that evening, after numerous glasses of Laolao (Rice whiskey)
Later that evening, a heated discussion took place about a controversial plan to shift the village out of the NamHa protected area, to a site near the road from Luang Namtha to muang Singh.
The last memory of that evening, after numerous glasses of Laolao (Rice whiskey) was my guide (Mr jeua) and I stumbling down the steep slippery and muddy path down the hill back to our lodge.
In the morning we were woken at 6.30 by someone who summonsed us to breakfast at the new house. although i felt a bit jaded, w went along. These photos were taken during and after breakfast, which itself was washed down again with some Laolao.
The inside shots were taken on high speed 35 mm print film, which explains the graininess. At that time my Sony digital camera didn't allow pictures at the extreme low light levels in the house. The only light inside was what filtered though the gaps in the bamboo wall.
© Kees Sprengers - Ethnic Diversity in Luang Namtha - Laos