The lifestyle of the Akha-people

 Life in an Akhavillage:

 

During the last 20 30 years life in an Akha village has changed quite a bit. 40 years ago, most Akha villages could only be reached by a long march through the jungle. Today almost all Akha villages can be reached by car on good roads. Some of the Akha rice-farmers even go to their fields by moped. 

In the old times all Akha houses were built with bamboo walls and grass-roofs. Today we find more and more houses built with solid materials and with corrugated iron roofs. 

In the old days the women often had to carry water a long way, or the water was led into the villages with primitive bamboo pipes, today most villages have good modern water-supply put up by the government. 

Hillrice and a few cash crops were the farmers main products. Today we find more and more diversity. There are litchi plantations, Pineapple farms, Ginger crops, and tea plantations. Some of these farmers sell their products and buy the rice from the Thai rice-farmers as the conditions for rice farming are much better on flat land. 

Electricity was an unknown element among the Akha . They used oil-lamps and their wood-fire. Today electricity is installed in almost all villages by the government. This brings new problems: now you can use a fridge, a fan, TV and even a washing machine. But this costs a lot of money. The temptation to try and find easy illegal money-sources  is great. 

Today, almost all children go to School. 30 years ago there was no such possibility. But with new schools and good hostels it is now possible for Akha children to get a Thai-education. 

The first Akha churches were made of bamboo with grass-roof, just like all the houses in the village. Today the Akha christians build beautiful churches of solid materials.

Akha-Villages

Akha-village in South-China. There are still houses with grass-roof.

Village in Thailand with new church on the hill behind the village,

 

Modern Akha-village in northern Thailand.

Transport

Most Akha villages could only be reached by a long march. 

 

Today, rice-farmers even go to their fields by moped.   

Today almost all Akha villages can be reached by car on good roads.

 

Water-supply

Before they became christians the Akha kept the water-supply far away from the village because they feared the water-spirits. This meant the women had to carry the water in gourds a long way. After they became christians they dared to lead the water right to the middle of their village. 

In the old days the water was led into the villages with primitive bamboo pipes.

 A thirsty boy on the way home.

 

Modern water-supply put up by the government.

Life in the house

The place in front of a house in South China. This is the place for washing etc.

Akha woman cooking at the open fire in the house. Men always eat first in the Akha culture.

 

Agriculture
Rice-harvest Pineapple farm Ginger harvest

 

Handicraft

Akha are very good in handicraft and embroidering their clothes. The traditional costumes are very colourfull. Tourists like to buy the beautifull shoulder-bags.

Preparation of bamboo for weaving baskets or mats.

Lady weaving a small basket

Akha-stool

 

Left: a small basket for carrying cotton, right: a ball made of bamboo.

 

A ladies jacket Left: a childrens hat,  right: a ladies headgear. 
Embroidered shoulder-bags. Letterholder Embroidered and decorated ladies-belt

 

Communication

Posters helped to explain the Good News of Jesus to interested listeners

Telephone-booth  in an Akhavillage

 

Akha-woman in traditional clothes with a mobile telephon (Handy)

 

School

In the old days there was no possibility for the children to go to school. So the missionaries taught literacy mornings and evenings to children and adults.  

Today, most of the Akha-children go to school.

 

Many of the children live in hostels near towns, because their parents live far away.
Fun and games

In the old days the swing was only used during a demon festival in August and new year. The first christians did not want to use it. But the next generation knew nothing about this connection and saw only the fun in it. Today the christians use the swing when ever they have a special festival. 

Two swings made of four poles with a thick rope in the middle on which the youngsters swing.

 

A swing in Thailand

A swing in South-China

Churches
The first Akha churches were made of bamboo with grass-roof, just like all the houses in the village Simple new church in Thailand Today the Akha christians build beautiful churches of solid materials.

All the pictures are shown in higher resolution  (without comment) in the photo-gallery

(The livestyle of the Akha people)