Survey in Nale district
In October 2003, I joined two experienced Luang Namtha tourist guides in a survey of part of nale District, trying to find interesting places, villages and treks that might be developed at tourist treks. The Unesco sponsored NamHa ecotourism developemnt pilot project had proved successful, and in order not to flood the villages approached in the early stages of the project, it was seen as useful to find more alternative destinations. We took a boatride fo a day down the NamTha, slept overnight at the 'boatsman village' Ban Khongkham, and next day, joined by a local guide from that village, set off up a steep track up the hill on the east side of the river. We passed a site that was explained to have been base of a military post during the war in the sixties, and eventually arrived at Ban XXX (one of the few villages whose name got lost, I'll have to retrieve it one day. Upon arrival there, alte afternoon, the first children who saw us ran away screaming. Our village guide explained they had never seen a falang before in that village. We were taken to the house of the village head, and my companions explained our mission. While the conversation went on, I strated taking some pix of some of the children crowding around us. After a few pictures, showing them the eslut on the back of my camera (Bless digital, this would have been nearly impossible to do in film days), the children lost their shynesss. We were invited to stay the night in the headman's house. In the morning I took many family group photos, on express request of the people.
f/6.3 @ 16.2 mm, 1/500, ISO 100, No Flash
© Kees Sprengers - Ethnic Diversity in Luang Namtha - Laos