Subject: Villiage life
My cherished fellow humans,
As everyone at home stares at the TV, reads the news,
listens to the radio, checks the Internet and
generally talks and think about war, I have been given
a blessing from God.
I was almost feeling a bit "Asia ed" out in Hanoi,
war, health risks..it was all just a bit much. Then, I
found myself in Sapa, a small village town right up
near China. My soul has been revived! I have found
what I have been looking for.
Different tribes of people have small villages all
over in the mountains around here. The land is rich,
water is plentiful, well terraced hills allow for
exceptional growing area and crop intake. Basically,
they have everything they need to survive right in
their little world... A world that has so inspired, so
stimulated and alighted me that I am grasping for a
way to describe what I have found.
There is a magic in these hills. Mixed with the beauty
and friendliness of these people, I often have to
wonder if I am dreaming.
They all have beautiful stuff to sell for extremely
cheap prices. If you buy, wonderful, really they just
want to be friends. I have never met such loving
people. Within two minutes of knowing you they are
braiding your hair, stroking your arm, hugging you...
"We are sisters," they say.
Today I went trekking into a few of the villages. It
gave me hope for the world. They live as communities,
everyone helping each other. They smile, laugh and
work all at the same time. Everything about their
lives is simple, except for the beautiful colors
embroidered into their cloths, the shiny jewelry and
the brightness in their eyes.
For the most part none of them have TV's. I asked one
girl what she thought of TV. She said all the people
on TV look "spacey"....?
Vary few of the hill tribe people ever leave the area
surrounding their village. I ask them if they want to
go anywhere and they say no. They honestly love where
they live. They live perfectly off the earth. They
grow almost everything and I have hardly seen any
garbage.(something you get used too in Asia)
They make music with leaves, use bamboo for an insane
amount of practicle devises like entire irrigation
In the villages women and children walked with us for
hours. We were invited into a house and shown how they
dye and make the thread for all their beautiful
handmade wonders. Eventually they all hugged us
goodbye and we parted ways. It was perfect.
I just climbed Mt. Fansapan, the highest mountain in
Indo-China! It was the toughest challenge I have had
for a while, now with and aching body I celebrate. I
have never so literally "climbed" a mountain before.
We were using bamboo, branches and rocks to pull our
way to the top. Steep, steep, steep....Coming down was
almost harder, luckily the trees took away from the
sheer cliffs on all sides. Our guides name was Tine
which means successful, so we were pretty confident.
I have lots of pictures and tons of stories on that
At the end of our trek, we followed a river through a
village that seemed to be primarily small children.
They all ran after us saying hello over and over in
perfect unison. There was baby horses, pigs,
dogs..everything is so green here.
I shudder to think of the effect tourism is going to
have on this place. Yet, here I am getting so much out
of it that I have absolutely no room to talk. I just
pray the way of life and genuine smiles do not get
lost in the sea of greed and lust for money.
I am so sorry everyone has to deal with the pain of
war right now. I hope and pray that you are able to
see the beauty in life and appreciate the gifts that
we all are given as individuals. I feel that in a way
this entire trip has been one big lesson on war and
its effects. I have been sad, confused, discouraged,
humbled, and incredibly angered. At the same time I
learned that through all the pain life goes on. People
do recover, the earth heals itself and everything
moves forward. I have looked into the eyes of people
who lost entire families, villages and everything they
know as life, yet these are not the things that rule
them now. I found this as a great relief. If these
poor countries can find ways to continue living than
surely we can too.
Today I head to Bac Ha, right on the border of China.
It is supposed to be even less touched by the outside
world. I am trying to fill up on this life before
heading back into the chaos of what is so often called
the "real world".