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Akha Human Rights - Akha University
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The Lisu Akha Village
Poverty runs deep in the Akha villages, few people take the time to ask the reason why?
I had been visiting Leeh Sooh Akha for about seven years. There is a widow there. She tells me what is going on in that region. I made my way up the steep road from the highway, not long, but steep. I stopped at the widow's house.
The first thing that I noticed was all the dust and that the village chickens hadn't died. Ah Surh, the widow, wasn't home yet, but finally arrived from a trip to her grandmother's house. Her grandmother is 91.
Her son, Ah Soh, was stung by a bee and his face all swollen up.
The village had scabies before, some of the people. A woman says she didn't have the scabies last time I was there but does now, so wants some medicine. Scabies can get going in a village and then can be real hard to get rid of.
Quite a few people have it this time.
Lots of kids are running around, seeds of the village.
One kid has a rag wrapped around a sore on his arm.
The volunteer with me takes a few pics, wants to leave, scared of the scabies.
Villagers bring small bottles to get medicine from me that I always carry in the back of the truck.
The missions build a church in the village, but never come and help, let alone bring medicine. There is a mission doctor around. But mission doctors are far more rare than locked churches.
Forestry came to the village, Ah Surh said, told the villagers that they are going to plant trees all around the village and unless the villagers pay money they couldn't stay there any more.
I told her to get the name, phone, office numbers for me.
Some of the villagers have left to sell Akha handicrafts in the streets of Bangkok.
A few hundred meters from the road, the government won't run electric into the village or take care to the ssteep road, short as it is.
Kids and adults gather around scratching, sturring up dust.
A woman gave birth to a son without having a husband. She said the guy, that one, did it, but he went off and married a woman from Hooh Gkah Akha. He couldn't have done that in a traditional village. No ruiles or accountability in a Christian village. Most of the joy is gone as well.
The people stop being Akha.
A child came with an extended belly button, the woman plays with it, making fun, he runs off.
The kids walk down to the road evenings to study the Chinese language.
Swallows fly in and out of the hut roofs, through the smoke holes at the top.
We talked about the chicken flu. A cat walked by.
Our village only has two cats, the woman said. They ate all the rest.
I asked her who? She said Hua Sah Lah Akha. They are a big village down the highway to Tatong. A village woman caught all the other cats. Said she was taking them to Hua Sah Lah to hunt rats. But in reality the hungry villagers ate all the cats.
A boy brings a bottle of glucose and vitamins for injection. Can't imagine how it is more effective to do that than to drink electrolyte.
The pigs, only assets, bathe in the dust nearby. Poverty.
The army told the villagers not to spray herbicide near the village water.
A few fruit trees starting to bloom, white blossoms amid all the dust.
There is a real good knife and rifle smith in the village. He makes tools by hand, has a forge, the village blacksmith. He is deaf and mute as well. The army told him not to make any more black powder bird guns.
A larger blue plastic 50 gal drum rests next to a tree. "Monsanto Thailand Ltd. Order No. THA MOINDO 970075.
The Akha brought it from another village where the Akha sprayed the insecticide in it on lychee trees. No one knew the contents were very dangerous.
The army took away 17 bird guns from the Akha of this village. Each has an intrinsic value. They could have been disabled, the Akha could have sold them to the tourists.
Copyright 1991 The Akha Heritage Foundation