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Hooh Yoh Diary
Hooh Yoh Diary has updates about events at Hooh Yoh village, Ampur Mae Faluang, Chiangrai Province, Thailand in regards to the confiscation of all the village farm land by the Thai government. The project states that it is being done to help the hilltribe, but does not state that it is taking all their farm land, land on which they already successfully farm many traditional Akha products. To one side is a lovely and large forest, a very large reserve and to the other side they farm. Hooh Yoh Akha have been in this region for 150 years. Just ask one of the Akha there, they will tell you how many generations of old people they have buried.
The most recent update will be entered near the top of the page.
You should get involved to protest to the Thai government about this project, that it is unacceptable to take the land of these villagers. There are 250 families, 1019 people in this village. They are being told they can work for a few baht a day, on what used to be their land, IF there is work. Very compassionate and thoughtful of the Thai government to offer slave wages on land that they have taken away from other people.
March 9, 2004
We drive up the long dusty road to Hooh Yoh village from Loh Lay village on the road below where there is a school. Coming to an Army checkpoint where the Rotary Arch is, we are stopped now. There didn't use to be a checkpoint here, but you can't just have anyone helping the Akha save their land now can you?
After talking our way through, we drive up to the second section of village and drop off several Akha women and their children who hitched rides on the back of the truck from the road down below in the valley. Then driving past the school to the upper village section we pull up to village store and spend some time with the villagers.
We find out about events, their lives, what is happening to the land, miscellaneous stories, watch the army and forestry come and go, and make progress reports to the villagers on efforts to save their land.
The Akha of Hooh Yoh have been here for three generations, 150 years, according to the number of grand parents they have buried here. There were no Thai people here then, and there were no Thai people here before then, but now the Thai government is shoving the hill tribe people around, taking their land, calling it compassion.
Each time human rights observers enter the village they must pass through a new army checkpoint.
One army man always comes up to ask me small questions while I am here. Less than clever prying questions, nothing that the checkpoint army couldn't ask more directly. What is my friend's name, how old is he, etc. I figure he is maybe a part time intel type. I make jokes at him, keep asking him what the Akha are suppose to eat? Where all the young people have run away to? Things like this.
He finds it odd that anyone would speak Akha.
He goes away.
Some BIG SHOT came yesterday. but didn't visit the villagers and sure didn't invite them up for all the pomp. Taking all the land is not so famous. Maybe the villagers would have thrown buffalo dung or something. Got to watch these tribal people you know.
As I wrote a big bee crawled in through the hole in my hat and this was pointed out to me, so I removed the hat and got rid of it. The Akha woman told me that there were many kinds of bees and went through a list of names for all the bees.
The villagers tell me that they are secretly caring for this and that field and then slipping away before the forestry people can catch them. So in order to have some hope of survival, or to save what they can, the villagers are working small marginal plots they normally would not work.
But standing orders are that no one can go to the fields, they are not allowed to build cooking fires in their traditional field huts, they are forbidden to just about anything. Far from the eye of the watchful, the Thai government does what it wants.
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